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Juliana Williamson '12

At a glance:

Williamson wrote an article about domestic violence in same sex relationships, which is now cited by prosecutors, experts, and the press.

Domestic violence is often an issue kept behind closed doors, particularly within same sex relationships, but Juliana Williamson J.D. '12 wrote an article which brings to the forefront issues that were once locked in the closet.

Inspired by a case study in her Law and Social Justice class and meeting a victim of same sex domestic violence, Williamson wrote "Domestic/Intimate Partner Violence in Same-Sex Relationships," which brings attention to this LGBTQ issue and is being cited by experts and prosecutors.

Members of the LGBTQ community are often hesitant to report domestic violence issues in fear of backlash from critics, particularly at a time when the issue of same sex marriage is on the table. Critics of LGBTQ relationships label them as "deviant," so some members of the LGBTQ community are concerned that by revealing domestic violence exists in their community, they are providing more ammunition for opponents to discount the validity of same sex relationships. As a result, many domestic violence incidents within the LGBTQ community remain unreported.

Williamson believes her article gained attention as a response to a 2012 incident in Willow Glen where a woman killed her same sex spouse's mother with a machete when the spouse told her she was going to leave.

While conducting research for her article, Williamson interviewed victims of domestic violence, the Family Violence Unit in the District Attorney's Office, and spoke with a counselor at San Jose State University who is an advocate for the LGBTQ community in San Jose, as well as various domestic violence organizations.

Williamson hopes that her work will garner more attention from the media regarding domestic violence in same sex relationships, so that more people can become informed on the issue. With limited literature and recognition, even experts in the domestic violence field know very little on the particularities of same sex domestic violence and are not trained to work specifically with victims and abusers. Williamson believes that members of the judicial branch who handle domestic violence cases need to be more informed on the subject, so they can be more sensitive to the needs of same sex victims.