Thu Nov 15, 2012, 12:24 PM
redqueen (109,236 posts)
Forgotten victims: Domestic violence among gay men
The story is one of the many testimonies on the website of The Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project, a grass-roots organization created by gay men that offers support and resources to gay male victims of domestic violence. It is the only organization of its kind in the United States, hardly enough to address a problem that exists, but is largely hidden, nationwide. In my own research, which has involved talking with over 100 survivors of violence in the past 2 years alone, many gay men have told me reports of being turned away from shelters that either didn’t take men, or worse, did not accept gay men. A review of the websites of the primary anti-domestic violence organizations including the leading one, the National Coalition against Domestic Violence – reveals an interesting omission. Images are almost exclusively of women, and the focus is on a heterosexual model of male perpetrator and female victim. Raising awareness of domestic violence can lead to shifts in public attitudes, policy change and the targeting of research dollars. Yet, why are gay male couples largely excluded from domestic violence prevention efforts?
According to the CDC, one in four women has experienced domestic violence in their lifetime. The American Bar Association website reports that approximately 835,000 men are physically assaulted by a partner annually, levels of violence that are much lower than those experienced by women. But this simple gender comparison is misleading. The National Coalition Against Domestic violence estimates that gay men experience domestic violence levels at least as high as heterosexual women. My own research has shown that gay men experience domestic violence levels at least as high as heterosexual women with approximately 25-30% of gay men reporting violence from a main partner, while others have estimated levels between 50-65%.
If the problem is so prevalent, then why is there so little funding for research on the issue? Some of the omission may stem from discrimination against the LGBT community, and more specifically, against same-sex couples. Republican senators fought Democrats over expanding the Violence against Women Act (VAWA) because the new version would extend the law to cover same-sex relationships. Janice Shaw Crouse of Concerned Women for America – a conservative group promoting Biblical values and “traditional” families – claimed that gays cannot maintain long term relationships — usually terminating them after just a year and a half (a figure that has no grounding in actual data). This skewed view of reality has prevented same-sex couples from receiving the same resources as heterosexuals, and has stopped same-sex couples from being included in the public discourse over domestic violence.
Some domestic violence services are also guilty of discrimination. On October 26, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) found that a gay male domestic violence survivor has probable cause in his discrimination complaint against the R.O.S.E. Fund – a facial reconstructive surgery program – that told the male applicant he could not apply due to his sex.
The story goes on to say that there are some signs of progress, but it is a crying shame that the expanded form of VAWA was not passed. The inclusion of same sex couples is not negotiable.
5 replies, 1229 views
Forgotten victims: Domestic violence among gay men (Original post)
Response to redqueen (Original post)
Thu Nov 15, 2012, 12:48 PM
Warpy (89,166 posts)
2. It's a potential risk in all relationships, same sex relationships
I lived across an airshaft from a lesbian couple who were violent. I was in a quandary about calling the cops---I didn't like seeing people get hurt, but they were pretty evenly matched and since it was the 70s, I knew the cops would be far less than sympathetic. I suppose if a weapon had ever appeared, I'd have called.
It went on sporadically for about four months and they finally broke up. I always hoped they found non violent relationships.
Violence in relationships is a big, ugly problem in this world and isn't restricted to women in hetero relationships, although such women are generally hurt longest and worst and are in need of the most protection. Everybody who is stuck with a violent partner needs protection. Violent partners need treatment.
It's sickening that the GOP blocked the VAWA because it was expanded to include people in same sex relationships.
Response to Warpy (Reply #2)
Thu Nov 15, 2012, 12:57 PM
Vanje (9,766 posts)
3. Maybe its something we dont want to talk about, because
....Well, cant you just see how NOM would handle the issue. Imagine.
But I do know, there was darn little community support for a friend of mine who got beat to a pulp by his partner, except among his lesbian and straight woman friends.
Even then, It took him a long time to ask for help. He was embarrassed, and he was really scared.
Response to Vanje (Reply #3)
Thu Nov 15, 2012, 09:41 PM
Marrah_G (28,581 posts)
4. I think that it's hard for anyone to talk about
But then you have to worry about the reaction of the police, the judicial system, etc on top of already being victimized by once person.