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Stopping the Silence: My Tool to Escape From Domestic Violence and to Find Liberty and Justice

Gay Domestic Violence













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SAME-SEX BATTERING

Domestic violence occurs within same-sex relationships with the same statistical frequency as in heterosexual relationships.

The prevalence of domestic violence among Gay and Lesbian couples is approximately 25 - 33%. Barnes, It's Just a Quarrel', American Bar Association Journal, February 1998, p. 25.

Battering among Lesbians crosses age, race, class, lifestyle and socio-economic lines. Lobel, ed., Naming the Violence: Speaking Out About Lesbian Battering, 183 (1986).

Each year, between 50,000 and 100,000 Lesbian women and as many as 500,000 Gay men are battered.

Murphy, Queer Justice: Equal Protection for Victims of Same-Sex Domestic Violence, 30 Val. U. L. Rev. 335 (1995).

While same-sex battering mirrors heterosexual battering both in type and prevalence, its victims receive fewer protections. Barnes, It's Just a Quarrel', American Bar Association Journal, February 1998, p. 24.

Seven states define domestic violence in a way that excludes same-sex victims; 21 states have sodomy laws that may require same-sex victims to confess to a crime in order to prove they are in a domestic relationship. Barnes, It's Just a Quarrel', American Bar Association Journal, February 1998, p. 24.

It is a myth that same-sex battering is mutual. Murphy, Queer Justice: Equal Protection for Victims of Same-Sex Domestic Violence, 30 Val. U. L. Rev. 335 (1995).

By 1994, there were over 1,500 shelters and safe houses for battered women. many of these shelters routinely deny their services to victims of same-sex battering. Murphy, Queer Justice: Equal Protection for Victims of Same-Sex Domestic Violence, 30 Val. U. L. Rev. 335 (1995).

Same-sex batterers use forms of abuse similar to those of heterosexual batterers. they have an additional weapon in the threat of "outing" their partner to family, friends, employers or community. Lundy, Abuse That Dare Not Speak Its Name: Assisting Victims of Lesbian and Gay Domestic Violence in Massachusetts, 28 New Eng. L. Rev. 273 (Winter 1993).

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Quotes from the Introduction to the book Men Who Beat the Men Who Love Them (1991) by David Island, PhD and Patrick Letellier, MA :

[In same-sex relationships, domestic violence] is not a gender issue, since both men and women can be either batterer or victim. Domestic violence is a crime, and perpetrators are criminals. Individual acts of domestic violence are not caused by a victim's provocation, not by a violent, patriarchal society, not by alcohol or by any other excuse or rationalization one could dream up. Domestic violence is caused by individual, violent people. Because domestic violence is a decision made by a batterer, a batterer's violent actions are premeditated. Abusers intend to harm their lovers. Therefore, domestic violence is an enormous mental health problem in America. A batterer cannot possibly be seen as a mentally healthy, well-fuctioning member of a domestic couple. In fact, in this book we show that batterers suffer from a diagnosable, progressive mental disorder in their domestic setting, with their partners as the targets of their un-healthy condition, manifested most clearly just before, during, and just after one of their violent attacks. Batterers do not voluntarily seek help, cannot and do not fix themselves magically, and become increasingly abusive over time. Batterers have learned to be violent, evidencing both a disorder that is correctible through treatment and behaviour that is punishable by law. Both consequences must follow for batterers.

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Island and Letellier estimate that each year in the United States 500,000 Gay men are existing in violent and abusive relationships. Extrapolating this number to Canada, which has one-tenth the population of the United States, suggests that perhaps as many as 50,000 Canadian Gay men are existing in violent and abusive relationships. Island and Letellier feel that their estimate for the United States is probably on the low side.

Victims, by and large, are normal people who are unfortunately in relationships with violent partners. Couple counseling is inappropriate and unethical as treatment, and victims unequivocally are not codependent. The only effective method so far to stop violence in the lives of victims is for the victim to get out of the relationship, stay out, and have no further contact with their former abusive partners.






Recent statistics regarding gay domestic violence: 2001 report on DV in LGBT relationships

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