Recognizing Violence Within Homosexual Relationships

711 Words3 Pages
Domestic violence in relationships and marriages has been a long-standing problem in American society. A lot of people have not realized that it is not just a problem for heterosexual couples. Domestic violence in lesbian, gay, and bisexual relationships is just as prevalent. Lori B. Girshick, a Professor of sociology and women's studies at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina, states that we live in a society where "sexual violence is defined only in terms of male penetration and intercourse"(Griffin). If this is true then it is easy to see why our society has difficulty understanding the problem with the atypical types of relationship abuse. We must also consider the issue of prevalence. Though statistical research is still spotty many researchers believe that abuse in the gay and lesbian community is as prevalent as it is among heterosexuals. Incidents of domestic violence involving gay couples in the New York City area increased 25 percent in 1998 from the previous year (De La Cruz). A report by the National Institute of Justice which included a population that was 99 percent heterosexual found that 25 percent of women and 8 percent of men were at some point victims of an abusive relationship(Leland). There are many myths surrounding gay domestic violence. One of those is the general belief that women are not violent. Another involves a belief that the abuser in a relationship is more powerful. Violence in any relationship cannot be understood in terms of male, social and economic power. In lesbian partnerships it is often the partner who appears to have more self-esteem and makes more money who is being battered. Studies have shown that the women who were assaulted were the ones who were more self sufficient, i... ... middle of paper ... ...Los Angeles and Seattle have now been trained to deal with same-sex domestic violence (Leland). In addition, a 1998 survey of the victims of homosexual domestic violence reported that 42 percent of victims said that the police had treated them respectfully while another 30 percent said they were treated with indifference. Only eight percent reported some type of abuse by the police (De La Cruz). This is only one small step to solving such a wide spread problem. In order to address the issue of same sex domestic violence, the silence surrounding the issue must be confronted. Awareness must be raised in the homosexual and heterosexual communities to ensure that the needs of the victims are being addressed. Until awareness is raised and a commitment is made to doing something about the problem then it is doubtful that little progress will be made toward solving it.
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