Domestic Violence: It Happens in Gay Relationships Too

Extra stress in gay relationships may raise risk of domestic violence.

 

Domestic violence occurs at least as frequently, and likely even more so, between gay relationships compared to opposite-sex couples, according to recent studies.

Previous studies, when analyzed together, indicate that domestic violence affects 25 percent to 75 percent of lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals. However, a lack of representative data and underreporting of abuse paints an incomplete picture of the true landscape, suggesting even higher rates. An estimated one in four heterosexual women experience domestic abuse, with rates significantly lower for heterosexual men.

“Evidence suggests that the minority stress model may explain these high prevalence rates,” said senior author Richard Carroll, associate professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a psychologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. “Domestic violence is exacerbated because same-sex couples are dealing with the additional stress of being a sexual minority. This leads to reluctance to address domestic violence issues.”

Domestic violence — sometimes called intimate partner violence — is physical, sexual or psychological harm occurring between current or former intimate partners.

Research concerning the issue began in the 1970s in response to the women’s movement, but traditionally studies focused on women abused by men in opposite-sex relationships.

“There has been a lot of research on domestic violence but it hasn’t looked as carefully at the subgroup of same-sex couples,” Carroll said. “Another obstacle is getting the appropriate samples because of the stigma that has been attached to sexual orientation. In the past, individuals were reluctant to talk about it.”

Of the research that has examined same-sex domestic violence, most has concentrated on lesbians rather than gay men and bisexuals.

“Men may not want to see themselves as the victim, to present themselves as un-masculine and unable to defend themselves,” Carroll said.

He suggests that homosexual men and women may not report domestic violence for fear of discrimination and being blamed for abuse from a partner. They also may worry about their sexual orientation being revealed before they’re comfortable with it.

Mental health services for people involved in abusive same-sex relationships are becoming more common, but this population still faces obstacles in accessing help, reports the paper.

“We need to educate health care providers about the presence of this problem and remind them to assess for it in homosexual relationships, just as they would for heterosexual patients,” Carroll said. “The hope is that with increasingly deeper acceptance, the stress and stigma will disappear for these individuals so they can get the help they need.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Silent Epidemic: Helping GBT Men Speak Out About Domestic Violence

Original story from Huffingtonpost.
As a professional editor who has spent a lifetime as a passionate reader, looktoI know that we yearn to see our stories reflected in the books we read.We turn to literature to find out how others love and overcome loss – we hunger to read narratives that illuminate what we face and feel in our own lives. When I experience painful events in my own life, I look to books for comfort. If, as Louise DeSalvo says, “writing is a way ofhealing,” then perhaps this is even more true for reading.
For those gay, bi, and trans men who experience same-sex domestic violence, there are not many places to see their experiences mirrored back to them, especially when it comes to breaking free of the abuse and building a new life. It’s not that the numbers are too small in the LGBTQ community to warrant such a literature; in fact, the statistics are staggering: according to the Centers for Disease Control, 26% of gay men and 37% of bi men are victims of domestic violence. Continue reading

Gay Dating and Violence: Are You Dating an Abuser?

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Same-sex domestic violence doesn’t seem like a big problem to many gay men. Statistics are hard to come by; it’s hard to know the scope of the problem. 

Just like male rape, however, men find themselves being victimized on occasion. For men there can be the additional issue that because we think it can’t happen to us, we have a hard time understanding what has happened — or we are quick to blame ourselves.


Violence in gay relationships can be physical, sexual, emotional — or a combination of all three. Emotional abuse is indicated by frequent put-downs, name-calling, humiliation, mind games or guilt trips. Similarly, relationships that become controlled by jealousy, isolation and obsessive control are abusive.


Abusive relationships don’t usually start out violently; if they did, it would be easier for victims to recognize and avoid them. Instead, there is a progression of abuse.


The perpetrator may be very affectionate, then become more controlling or have angry outbursts. Apologies may follow these episodes, along with promises of change.  But then the occasions of hostility become more frequent. Angry words are thrown, as are objects.

Threats are made. When the relationship deteriorates to breaking things and making threats, battering is just around the corner — pushing, slapping, restraining, punching. Sexual assault, broken bones or other serious injury may be next.

Problems that affect gay relationships are often pretty much like those that affect our hetero counterparts. Women are far and away the greatest victims of domestic violence — and heterosexual men are overwhelmingly most likely to be perpetrators — male-male or female-female couples can also become abusive. Individuals with low self-esteem who have unrealistically romantic ideas about relationships may be especially prone to find themselves in abusive relationships. Relationships in which drugs and alcohol play a significant part can be more at risk for abuse and violence.

If you are in an abusive relationship, you must take your situation seriously. This is not a time for unrealistic optimism and sentimentality; this is a time for saving your life. If your partner is serious about change, he will do two things: First, he will accept responsibility for his own actions, rather than shift the blame to you. Second, he will seek treatment — not as a way of manipulating you into staying in the relationship, but treatment on his own, without conditions. If he meets these conditions, you will need to decide whether the relationship is one which is healthy for you to continue or not. You may want to seek professional help.

If your partner does not accept responsibility for his actions and does not seek to change, you must establish a plan for safely separating from him.
Batterers often become enraged when their victim seeks to leave. If you are sharing a home with your abuser, you will need to establish a plan for leaving to minimize the likelihood of a violent confrontation. Are their friends who can help? If you will need to move out, where will you go? Establish a plan to help you move to safety.

For more information, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE.

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