Conference on the Future of Monogamy and Nonmonogamy

Dynamics of Sexual Assault and Partner Abuse in Polyamorous Relationships


Liat Wexler, Center for Community Solutions, San Diego, California


Liat Wexler is the Training Specialist at Center for Community Solutions, a dual-service domestic violence and sexual assault agency, with more than 15 years of experience in intimate partner violence and 13 years as a trainer. They provide professional development and crisis intervention training for all staff and volunteers, as well as education to professionals at other agencies. Liat specializes in the neurobiology of trauma, resilience skills, motivational interviewing, and violence within marginalized communities. They spent 9 years with The Network/La Red in Massachusetts, working to end partner abuse in LGBTIQ, polyamorous and BDSM communities and serving on the board of directors.  Liat founded Genderqueer San Diego and San Diego Trans Pride, has a degree in Cognitive Science and Gender Studies from the University of Virginia, and is certified in advanced group facilitation. Liat has presented on The Dynamics of Sexual Assault in Polyamorous Relationships at the National Sexual Assault Conference 2016, and related topics at Alliant’s Institute on Violence, Abuse, and Trauma Summit 2015, the East County Domestic Violence Coalition DV Essentials 2015, in webinars for CALCASA and OCADVSA in 2016, and for the San Diego Chapter of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists in 2015.


While sexual assault and intimate partner abuse in monogamous relationships has long been a focus of government funding and media attention, the polyamorous community is often overlooked as a population coping with relationship & sexual violence. This presentation will draw special attention to unique considerations for working with polyamorous survivors of sexual assault and partner abuse, with a specific focus on how various partners in the relationship may be differentially affected. A brief overview of the effects of trauma will be given, followed by case studies that examine two different situations (an abusive triad and sexual assault in an open marriage), with attention to the barriers for poly survivors seeking help.