Domestic Violence Among Homosexuals

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Domestic violence is a fight for control over one’s significant others thoughts, beliefs, or behaviors to punish the partner for resisting one's control. It’s a game of fear and intimidation. The Domestic Violence Legal Definition (1995) is "any assault, battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another who is or was residing in the same single dwelling unit" (Title XLIII, Chapter 741, Statute 741.28). Domestic violence is a worldwide issue, not only among heterosexual couples but also among homosexual couples. When people think of domestic violence they mostly think of a woman being beaten by a man. Even a women being beat by another women is acknowledged, but a man beating a man is an issue that is often ignored. There are many forms of abuse that take place throughout these relationships besides the obvious physical abuse. Often times this abuse is thought as a direct result of substance abuse within the relationship. The topic of my paper is domestic violence among gay couples and the correlation of substance abuse.

Domestic violence is the third largest health problem facing gay men today, right behind substance abuse and AIDS. Domestic violence victims of the homosexual communities are not only ignored by the general public, the government, and law enforcement. But they are often times ignored by their own gay communities. According to Island and Letellier (1991), gay men are less likely to report the abuse and more likely to stay with their partner because of homophobia, heterosexism, and ignorance in the community regarding domestic violence as well as homosexuality. Many gay communities choose to be ignorant of the fact that it is going on because they believe that if you’re willing to stay in the relationship then it is your own fault for the abuse that is occurring. In heterosexual couples, it is assumed that the man is the abuser in 95% of the time. This probability is greater among homosexual couples because both partners in the relationship are male, therefore giving them the double the chance of one or both men are abusers or may become one. Between heterosexual and homosexual men one is not more violent than the other when it comes to domestic violence (Dutton, 1995; Island & Letellier, 1991; Walker, 2000).

When dealing with domestic violence you come in contact with several different types of abuse. There’s psychological abuse, physical abuse, and sexual abuse. Physical abuse occurs when one hits, scratches, chokes, kicks, pushes, slaps, punches, or uses a weapon against another. Psychological abuse also known as Emotional abuse occurs when one ridicules, insults, blames, humiliates, criticizes, ignores another purposefully, withholds approval or affection, threatens to leave or harm someone or their children, interrupting sleep, manipulating with lies, and continually finding fault with another. Lastly sexual abuse can include raping, exhibiting jealousy, accusing the partner of affairs, treating the partner as a sex object, withholding sex, using sexual names, having affairs, and coercing the partner sexually. (Walker,2000). According to an over the phone interview study that was conducted through the years 1996-1998 in four different cities across the United States, researchers found that over a 5 year span, 34% of the urban homosexual couples in our study experienced psychological/symbolic abuse, 22.0% experienced physical abuse, and 5.1% experienced sexual abuse. Some type of battering victimization was reported by 39.2% of the respondents, with 18.2% reporting being beat multiple times within the 5 year span alotted (G.L. Greenwood, 2001).

According to Walker (2000), many people believe that drinking, drugs, and stress are what cause a person to beat on their significant other. Yet the fact remains that people under the influence of either drugs or...
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