This article is part of our continuing series on domestic abuse and violence in the GLBT community. Currently over 30% of gay / same gender relationships are now reported to be involved in some type of serious domestic abuse. These figures are staggering, and the current lack of help and resources for this growing epidemic is shameful. Our community's awareness is imperative. It's time to unite to and provide gay abuse victims with the appropriate crisis intervention, and a solid support network.
As in opposite-gendered couples, the problem is likely underreported. Facing a system which is often oppressive and hostile towards gays, those involved in same-gender battering frequently report being afraid of revealing their sexual orientation or the nature of their relationship. Others who do not identify as GLBT may not feel that their relationship fits the definition but may still be in an abusive and dangerous relationship.
In many ways, domestic violence in lesbian, bisexual and gay relationships is the same as in opposite-gendered (e.g., heterosexually-paired) relationships:
Local resources for domestic violence in the GLBT community are often scarce and many traditional domestic violence services lack the training, sensitivity, and expertise to adequately recognize and address abusive GLBT relationships. A gay individual who is being battered must overcome homophobia and denial of the issue of battering. Lesbians, bisexuals and gay men who have been abused have much more difficulty in finding sources of support than heterosexual women who are battered by their male partners.
Here are more ways same-gender domestic violence is unique:
Concerned about your relationship?
If you answered yes - even once - your partner may be abusive!
- Talk with somebody you trust - a friend, relative, someone from work, your house of worship, or a health care practitioner.
- Remember everyone deserves to be treated with respect. Don't let your partner control or mistreat you. Help is available.
- At some time you may find yourself in trouble, so be prepared and put together an "emergency kit" of things you would really need if you had to leave suddenly.
Have An Emergency Kit Ready!
Money - store some cash in a secret place where you can easily get to it. Be sure to include some coins for phone calls.
Keys - an extra set if keys should be kept in a safe place (at a friend's or neighbor's) in case you need to leave quickly.
Important papers for you - birth certificates, passports, health insurance documents, photo ID/driver's license, immunization records, checkbook, medication, food stamps, social security cards, etc. (or copies of them) should be kept in a safe place.
Basic items - keep a small bag with your medicines, copies of your legal papers, an extra pair of glasses, and a set of clothes.
- Voice: 800.799.SAFE
- TTY: 800.787.3224