The LGBT Health & Development Program

Honoring Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Spotlight on FAB 400

Posted on October 27th, 2017 by IMPACT in Featured, Youth Blog. No Comments

A logo for the FAB 400 project. At the top is the logos of Northwestern University and University of Cincinnati.

Written by Parks Dunlap, Research Project Coordinator

The study I manage, FAB 400, is a longitudinal study of intimate partner violence (IPV) in the lives of assigned female at birth (AFAB) LGBTQ Chicago youth. The World Health Organization defines IPV as “… any behavior within an intimate relationship that causes physical, psychological or sexual harm to those in the relationship, including acts of physical aggression, sexual coercion, psychological abuse and controlling behaviors.” There is a common slogan in IPV prevention advocacy, “We are all survivors. We are all perpetrators.” It is intended to humanize perpetrators and survivors, engage with how messy the cycle is, and acknowledge that when you grow up surrounded by violence, that is what you know, trust, experience, and repeat.

The importance of an IPV study housed in an institute that researches sexual and gender minority health and wellbeing is to interrupt the common narrative of IPV as heterosexual. We hope that FAB 400 will help shift in how IPV is discussed, studied, prevented, and healed from by widening the lens to be inclusive of the experiences of sexual and gender minorities. Through this study, approximately 480 LGBTQ youth will have the opportunity to share their experiences of violence (as well as of healthy non-violent relationships) at six time points over the course of 3 years. We took great care in designing our surveys so that they are sensitive and relevant to non-heterosexual and non-cisgender youth, with input from the community itself.

So far, we have interviewed 441 participants; 180 of these have already come in for a second interview six months after their first. This rate of recruitment is much faster than expected, showing that AFAB LGBTQ youth are excited about the study. Some initial findings are that around 65% of participants have experienced psychological IPV, 18% physical abuse, and 15% sexual coercion or violence. For each type of IPV, perpetration and victimization are often reported by the same participants and physical victimization in particular is associated with cigarette smoking, drug use, and suicidality. I look forward to disseminating these findings and others– for example, regarding risk and protective factors for IPV – in scientific and popular outlets. We hope they will be used to inform future policies and prevention efforts that will reduce the IPV experienced by future generations of LGBTQ folks.


Some useful IPV resources include Between Friends (Chicago-based), Rad Remedy, and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.


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