Gay & Lesbian Domestic Violence: Keeping the Skeleton in Closet
Domestic violence in every intimate connection is basically about the issue of control and power. It is a systematic exercise of illegitimate supremacy and coercion of domestic partner regardless of gender preference (Stark, 2007, p. 169). No matter what gender is involve, the same thing as of controlling thoughts, conduct, beliefs or merely giving punishment for resisting over the other half’s control is considered as domestic violence.
Abuse and violence happens everyday and it does affects lives of people of all kinds. It does not recognize what culture or race or how much wealth you have. Anybody at any age can be a victim of domestic violence.
There are numerous types of intimate partner violence including sexual, verbal, physical, financial, psychological and emotional. Domestic violence is a crime and it is a major gender issue which initially falls into a human rights violation.
Although the majority of sexual and physical abuses are committed by men, in reality it can also be done by women. There are numerous cases of women who are sexually assaulted by other women and these cases are not widely known or discussed. Keeping their silence makes it hard to gather support from their community. Battered women need proper health care and strong support from different service providers such as group of educators, survivors, and media (Lemcke, 2003, p. 105).
In legal terms, sexual assault and rape has different degrees from state to state. Some state considers rape from opposite gender alone but some define sexual assault regardless of gender and it ranges from penetration by finger, object and sexual organ.
Denial and ignorance surrounding sexual assault of women by women is an issue globally but because of different level of shock experience by the victim, they are more likely reluctant in seeking help. The victim may also be hesitant believing that no one will believe them. If the victim is not also a lesbian or bisexual, there will be fear that people will also perceive her as the same.
Those persons who are raped by a partner or acquaintance are more reluctant to use the court system (Appelbaum, Uyehara and Elin, 1997, p. 430). Fear of being publicly dragged and thoughts of people may judge the victim perhaps keep many lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered individuals not to seek legal redress.
Women who are abused by women have gone through the same occurrence of short-term and long-term emotional battle experience by women assaulted by men. Post-traumatic stress symptoms may be present in no time. Symptoms such as dissociation, nightmares, anxiety, sexual problems, fear and trouble in sleeping can be observed to a person who experience extreme violence. Needing time off from work, difficulty in trusting others, inability to concentrate and manifestation of other stress-related consequences are some of a more serious problem after an assault incident.
Most of the society globally does not understand the crisis of an assaulted victim especially if the victim is a female. Women who have suffered so much pain and violence may less likely consult or visit a therapist. Other types of abuse manifests after sexual abuse and can lead to a long period of abusive relationship.
Denial or acceptance that violence is actually happening inside our home can also mean that the victim does not usually seek medical treatment even if it badly needed (Mckie, 2005, p. 53). Some women may be fraudulent in telling how they endure pain and injuries. They are more likely concern of the treatment done by health care providers.
Negative feelings such as betrayal, isolation, self-doubt and confusion often cause by domestic violence by another woman. Acknowledgment and support is strongly needed but the first step is to realize by the society that things like this is really happening in a domestic setting regardless of gender preference.
Episode of Domestic Violence
Violence in a relationship often commences in a fairly mild manner and then intensifies over time. People perceive that infrequent shove or slap and inconsiderate emotional abuse will just go away and won’t aggravate into a more serious thing. In most circumstances, instead of fading away, it gets worse as time goes by. The occasional trouncing will become a regular happening in domestic setting (Aitken and Griffin, 1996, p. 143).
Whether this incident escalates or not, it is important to keep in mind that no one has the right to hit anyone of us or abuse us in any manner. If your partner’s behaviour somewhat threaten your safety, think of it as a warning sign and never underestimate such experience.
Abusive behaviours of which tries to control your freedom, extreme anger or jealousy, hitting objects, coercion to participate in unusual sexual behaviour, isolation from family and friends, believing that you must be punished, threat to reduce to rubble your things, and mostly, threat to kill or hurt themselves are strong indicators of abusive behaviour.
Anyone who have undergone or experiencing violence in a relationship needs a psychological, emotional, physical and social support (Mothersole and Ridley, 1999, p.266). They need someone who could really listen and comfort them. There are but less few resources which can offer proper guidance and support in all means.
People, especially women stay in an abusive relationship because of many reasons they can only understand. Why would you go back to a place or a person who’s actually hurting you physically, emotionally or psychologically? Some instances is just like a play and rewind thing. Women who would give up their abusive relationship would eventually return with it.
There are many reasons why people stay in an abusive relationship. Some have fear of their abusive partner because they thought that their loved ones might be subject for a serious transgression. Abused women feel that they have nowhere to go except for their partner’s place because of succeeded personal and economical isolation. Their partner systematically thrives in damaging their self-esteem for them to feel that they deserve such abuse. Believing that their partner will change, the victim won’t leave. Particular abused partner may feel that they did something wrong so they are needed to be castigated. The judgmental qualities of their community and the fear of stigma can be also their reason for reluctance in reporting domestic violence with the law enforcement.
People every now and then are not sure if their partner is doing representation of domestic abuse. They actually did not know how they ended with such horrible situation and still living with someone who hurts them. Still, not any one has the right to hurt you.
There is a wrong perception that only women can be battered by their partner regardless of gender preference (Island and Letellier, 1991, p.7). Not all violent relationship fit the stereotype and men can also be a victim of a male partner. Sad to say but there are barriers why men are reluctant and unenthusiastic in reporting violence with police force although there are support groups advocating the violence in gay couples. Shelters provide the needs of gay victim to reconstruct his outlook in life and to start again with his life. Among these needs include medical and legal systems. People for support groups taken each story seriously and they try their very best to be of service with victims of domestic violence.
People of all sexual orientations can be a victim of domestic violence. In reality, domestic violence in gay male relationships comes to pass as repetitively as it does with lesbian female relationship. The control of power over a relationship with some regular abusive actions is fairly seen and notice about same sex relationship because there are only few reports with the law enforcement because of reluctance. Threats of break-ups maybe used to intimidate and control a same-sex partner especially if their friends and family doesn’t know about their current relationship. The same effects of domestic violence are also similar with same sex battering. These effects include guilt, fear, feelings of shame and responsibility, physical injury, as well as anger. Unluckily, victims of abusive relationship by their same sex partners face dilemmas and additional obstacles in seeking support, assistance and legal help.
Campaigns of anti-violence in male-female relationships which is more supported by support groups of different sectors cause battered gays and lesbians to feel more isolated. They believed that they are sole person experienced such act of battery and this makes it harder to even recognize aggressive behaviour as abuse. There are also refusal of police force to take the situation in a serious manner and non-responsiveness in arresting the perpetrator because of the inability to recognize battering in same sex relationships and some police force are anti-gay slurs.
There are only few shelters, hotlines and other services that are designed for same sex relationship violence victims. Service providers may be lack compassion and understanding of same sex domestic violence so battered gay men / lesbian women to obtain services. Discrimination among health workers, personal doctors, lawyers, police, shelter workers, hotline workers, therapists and other person that abused victim may deal will cause reluctance in victim’s part to report such incident.
Lack of knowledge which supports groups could offer such help sometimes make it hard for victim of the same sex relationship violence to identify which help center suits best for his or her situation. Fear of being ousted by the community once the victim reported the incident to police force also controls the victim.
All of these grounds can cause men and women maltreated by their same sex partners to be disinclined in seeking assistance. Same sex survivors of intimate partner violence sometimes find it hard to label abuse due to the idea that intimate partner violence only includes women battered by men. It is important to know and educate all victims as well as the survivors of same sex relationship violence have the equal rights for assistance.
Domestic violence among same sex relationships must be taken with serious caution in order to address this societal problem (Murphy, 2000, p. 168). Communities should understand that violence in same sex relationship has a wider context. Therefore, it is appropriate to identify the needs and levels of support each victim needs. Acceptance of same sex intimate relationship by a community is important to allow new legal, community and social service responses. “It is very fundamental to recognize that violence in same sex relationship is a political issue that can be used to threat against gay/lesbian people. The ethical challenge in creating and developing appropriate responses largely takes root in larger anti-oppression and social justice efforts are the key in recognizing same sex domestic violence (Murphy, 2000, p. 168).”
“Violence in any kind of relationships has a strong impact on the health and well-being of the victim. Violence affects people in many ways such as physical injuries ranging from broken bones, burns or bruises. It may also affect the person’s emotional stability and cause severe traumas (Mathur, 2004, p.7).”
“A person who wishes to control the thoughts of their partner may try using different types of threats precisely because only few communities recognize and go against same sex violence (Mathur, 2004, p.7).” Both the perpetrator and the victim will suffer consequences after such time that isolation from community takes place.
General reluctance of victims represents the extent of this societal problem creates the absence of reliable statistics on the degree of same sex relationship violence. If the community is ready to accept and acknowledge such relationship therefore it should addressed widely the domestic violence problem. The stillness surrounding the issue of same sex intimate relationship violence is pervasive. The subject of domestic violence within lesbian and gay communities lingers to be a taboo subject and such denial maintains the suppression of victims hence it effectively condones the violence by allowing it to carry on.
Advance rights of lesbians and gay men have frequently associated with gender preference. The state has no regulations regarding the issue therefore it inhibits the open discussion of same sex intimate relationship abuse. Privacy arguments regarding gender preferences make it hard for the judicial system to reinforce victims of such violence.
It is not surprising that lesbian and gay victims of domestic violence are reluctant to seek legal solutions to address such dilemma because the criminal justice system offers so little encouragement and aid.
After an Episode Comes a New Chapter
Domestic violence in gay and lesbian relationship is an uncompromising problem until such time it receives full attention by the community including law enforcers and judicial system. It is believed by only few support groups that the percentage of same sex domestic violence is probably at least high as in heterosexual couples.
Issues of invisibility, discrimination, poor resources and lesser identification of lesbian and gay in the community are amongst the state should deal with to create a more strong judicial system suited for this relationship.
Treatment of same sex intimate relationship violence needs a wider variety of approach (Whitman and Boyd, 2003, p. 237). First, the therapist or the support group must have a great background about same sex intimate relationship domestic violence. The physical safety of the victims must be properly secured at all times. Victims should feel that they have someone who can defend them in times of trouble and the victim should not be blame for being in that serious situation. Treatment of lesbian and gay is really a sensitive part as they are already a stigmatize populace in our society.
The therapist or the support group must also a legitimate gay and lesbian affirming. Well-informed support group needs a strong expertise in issues like coming out, societal responses and theoretical biases in psychological theories in dealing with same sex intimate relationship violence. Personal preconceived notion must be prevented whether it is plainly subtle to avoid further unnecessary conflicts.
It must be also recognize by the society that not only men are victimizers and females are solely the victims. It denotes the reason why the society is still blind in seeing that domestic violence can happen and it is really occurring even in same sex intimate relationships. Failure to recognize the intimate relationship preference of gay and lesbian people also denies their rights as a citizen of the state.
Series of counselling intended for the victim is very crucial regardless of gender preference. It is not advisable to conduct counselling for both couples because it has shown by other instances that an abusive person although no longer physical abusive, most of them continues to be manipulative and controlling in their relationship.
We are all bound by our own preferences and choices in life. We can choose which path we are going to traipse and if we will continue trudging with the same path after some time. As a person and as a human being, our minds has limitation and our strength may weaken thus we need to take care of our selves. Violence is not intended for humans or for any kind of living things. Early signs of abuse by our partner or any manifestation that incident of domestic violence may happen moreover it must be address directly and instantly to avoid further predicament.
Collective efforts and supports of the community are highly needed to eliminate same sex domestic violence. Acknowledgement from the judicial system, law enforcement and support groups is more likely helps to facilitate the needs of gay and lesbian victims of domestic violence.
Gender preference is not an issue here. It is the right of every human being to be equally protected by the law governing the state. We are all equal no matter what choices in life we choose. No one has the right to punish, neglect and coerce any well being for we are all created equally.
Aitken, Lynda, Griffin, Gabriele (1996). Gender issues in elder abuse. USA: SAGE.
Appelbaum, Paul S., Uyehara, Lisa A., Elin, Mark R (1997). Trauma and memory: Clinical
and legal controversies. USA: Oxford University Press.
Island, David, Letellier, Patrick (1991). Men who beat the men who love them: Battered gay
men and domestic violence. USA: Haworth Press.
Lemcke, Dawn P et al (2003). Current care of women: Diagnosis and treatment. USA:
Mathur, Kanchan (2004). Countering gender violence. USA: SAGE.
Mckie, Linda (2005). Families, violence and social change. USA: McGrwa-Hill
Mothersole, Brenda, Ridley, Ann (1999). A-level law in action. USA: Cengage Learning
Murphy, Timothy (2000). Readers guide to lesbian and gay studies: USA: Taylor & Francis.
Stark, Evan (2007). Coercive control: The entrapment of women in personal life. USA:
Oxford University Press.
Whitman, Joy S., Boyd, Cynthia J (2003). The therapist’s notebook for lesbian, gay and
bisexual clients. USA: Haworth Press.