poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Domestic Violence Comes out of the closet
By Alexandra Cobus

Many myths and misconceptions regarding domestic violence permeate our society, to the detriment of victims everywhere. When it comes to lgbt victims and survivors of domestic violence, the additional component of homophobia can dangerously complicate matters.

Victims and survivors may be afraid to seek help for fear of rejection and stigmatization from the heterosexual community because of homophobia. They may not reach out to the gay community for fear of rejection and stigmatization because of the violence. It is this profound isolation that often keeps the victim in the abusive relationship.

The Anti-Violence Program at the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley will work to educate the lgbt and communities about the realities of domestic violence within lgbt relationships. Below are just a few of the many harmful myths about abusive lgbt relationships.

Myth: Only straight women get battered; gay, bisexual, and transgender men are never victims of domestic violence; lesbians, bisexual, and transgender women cannot batter. Battering is less common in lgbt relationships
Fact: Men can be victims, and women can batter. Numbers reflect this: an annual study of over 2,000 gay men reflects that one in four gay men have experienced domestic violence. These numbers are consistent with research done on battering among heterosexual couples, and lesbian couples. Stereotypes about gender and sexual orientation are repudiated by the fact that gay men are victims, and lesbians are batterers at roughly the same rate as heterosexuals are.

Myth: In lgbt relationships, the problem is just fighting or “mutual battering,” not domestic violence. Because both are the same gender, it’s a fair fight between equals.


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