domestic abuse doesn’t discriminate.
Domestic Abuse is a serious issue among lesbians, gay men, bisexual, and transgender people. 25 to 30% of relationships are abusive regardless of gender or sexuality.
how is lesbian and gay battering similar to battering in heterosexual relationships?
- No one deserves to be abused.
- Abuse can be physical, sexual, or verbal behavior to coerce or humiliate, emotionally or psychologically.
- Abuse often occurs in a cyclic fashion.
- Abuse can be lethal.
- The purpose of the abuse is to maintain control and power over one’s partner.
- Routine intimidation is used to gain that power.
- The abused person feels isolated, afraid and usually convinced that they are at fault.
- The incidence rate in relationships for gay/lesbian battering and heterosexual battering is approximately the same; 25% to 30% of relationships are abusive.
how is lesbian and gay battering different from heterosexual battering?
- Lesbians and gay men who are abused have much more difficulty finding appropriate support.
- The myth that lesbian/gay domestic violence is “mutual” prevails.
- Using services such as the legal system or shelters is tantamount to “coming out” and a major life decision.
- Support services often minimize lesbian/gay domestic violence. Service providers may be ignorant of the severity of lesbian/gay battering.
- Lesbian and gay survivors may know few or no other gays; leaving the abuser could mean total isolation from every community.
- The gay/lesbian community is small, and it is likely that everyone the survivor knows will soon know about the abuse.
- The batterer can use blackmail to hold the victim in the relationship. Being “outed” at work or to parents is sometimes more threatening than the abuse.
- Service providers like law enforcement officers often feel GBLT abuse may be mutual due to gender and/or size of the abuser/abused.
- If there are children in the relationship, seeking help will be “outed” and mean the survivor will never again see the abuser’s children, since gays/lesbians have no parental rights.
- Often for gays/lesbians, sympathetic friends are hard to find since the gay/lesbian community is not eager to acknowledge weaknesses that the heterosexual world will use to support its homophobic stereotypes.
For training about domestic violence in GLBT relationships, please contact MCEDV.