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Further, the fear of reinforcing negative stereotypes could lead some community members, activists, and victims to deny the extent of violence among lesbians. The main goal of activists is to legitimize lesbian domestic violence as real abuse and validate the experience of its victims.
Many different factors play into this, such as "different definitions of domestic violence, non-random, self selected and opportunistic sampling methods often organisation or agency based, or advertising for participants who have experienced violence and different methods and types of data collected".
This has caused rates of violence in lesbian relationships to range from 17 to 73 percent as of the s, being too large of a scale to accurately determine the pervasiveness of lesbian abuse in the community.
This is "a consequence of the invisibility of such violence and fear of homophobic reactions".
Popular approaches mainly discuss "the comparability of violence in lesbian and gay male relationships same sex violence, or draw on feminist theories of gendered power relations, comparing domestic violence between lesbians and heterosexual women".
Findings from studies have shown that slapping was most the commonly reported form of abuse, while beatings and assaults with weapons were less frequent. The most frequent type included forced kissing, breast, and genital fondling, and oral, anal, or vaginal penetration. Eighty percent of victims reported psychological abuse and verbal abuse. Lesbians are also less likely to use physical force or threats than gay men.
Also homophobia is an important factor in shaping the experience of domestic violence in lesbian relationships. This may cause a general distaste or negative conception of the lesbian identity, both of oneself and others. This behavior is described as horizontal hostility, or minority groups becoming hostile or violent toward each other.
In the case of domestic violence in lesbian relationships, this hostility is perpetuated in the form of intimate partner abuse. These negative feelings are then acted out in the form of lesbian battering. Also women fear that they might suffer from isolation, risk of losing their job, housing or family as consequences to homophobia and internalized homophobia.
This form of abuse could result in a variety of negative consequences for the victim, such as being shunned by family members and the loss of children, a job, and housing. In fearing isolation due to homophobia, lesbians also experience the phenomenon of living in the "second closet", or that they must keep both their sexualities and experiences with domestic violence hidden from others due to fear of negative repercussions.
Many LGB individuals experienced additional victimization and homophobia when they reported the abuse to police Barnes, ; Burke et al. This myth was legitimized by the societal attitude with regard to tolerating violence expressions between men, expressions that were considered admissible and often normalized as a means of dispute resolution or because of greater congruence between violence and male roles Baker et al.
This idea implicated serious issues because not only did it created obstacles in providing services for homosexual victims but it also contributed to increasing the tendency to minimize IPV severity McClennen, Such an assumption could neglect the study of other types of violence apart from the physical one, such as psychological abuse Finneran and Stephenson, This myth was proved to be unfounded when motivations why partners fight back were considered.
In this regard, several researches Merrill and Wolfe, ; Bartholomew et al. Further studies Bartholomew et al. Ristock affirms that fighting back was not only self-defense but also a claim to power and higher position between the couple.
A further hypothesis supposed that additional and hidden power dynamics may contribute to the occurrence of IPV. These issues reinforced the illusion that violence was mutual Ristock and Timbang, Moreover, the belief that it would be easier for gay men to leave an abusive relationship needs to be considered. This idea arose from another stereotype related to homosexual men being unable to be involved in a stable relationship and often and easily changing partners instead LGB relationship can be as stable as heterosexual ones Gates, Several studies Austin et al.
Bisexual people were doubly marginalized, not being recognized by lesbian and gay people as part of their community and, simultaneously, being stigmatized by heterosexuals. The assumption that bisexual people use the heterosexual privilege leads to the fact that a lot of lesbian and gay people believe that the victimization of bisexual people is not as serious as that of lesbian and gay people.
Davidson and Duke showed that bisexual people were victims of the law system and the services to the same extent. Moreover, studies showed that biphobia within the LGB community increased the risk of IPV between bisexual partners and, simultaneously, reduced help-giving resources Austin et al. Like heterosexual victims, homosexual and bisexual people experienced emotional, physical, and sexual abuse.
The outcomes were severe, and included physical injury, social isolation, property destruction and loss, and disruption to work, education, and career development Buford et al. Moreover, victims often reported that the abuse was not mutual and was instead suffered, and the consequences of it made them feel trapped, hopeless, and isolated Ferraro and Johnson, ; McClennen, There were also similarities with regard to the reasons for remaining with the abusive partner.
Both heterosexual and homosexual victims commonly listed the following aspects as reasons to stay: A further resemblance was the connection between stress, violence, and use of substances Buford et al.
Same sex domestic abuse - End The Fear
IPV was related both to depression and substance use among LG people with a previous IPV history, who appeared to have a higher tendency of drug abuse Kelley et al. Merrill and Wolfe results showed that the main reasons why HIV-positive IPV victims did not leave the relationship were linked to the fear of becoming sick and dying alone or of dating in the context of the disease. On the other hand, HIV-positive partners remained in the relationship because they did not want to abandon their sick partners.
Individuals may experience difficulties in negotiating safer sex for several reasons, including the perception of being unable to have control over sex, fear of violence, and unequal power distributions in the relationship Bowen and Nowinsky, ; Gill et al.
Therefore, it is essential that all service providers screen and provide assistance for issues relating to safer sex, similarly, all HIV service providers should screen for IPV and discuss safety within the context of abusive relationships and helping their clients have safer sex Heintz and Melendez, Even though this fact represented an issue in the heterosexual population, LGB people were more affected by it. In fact, in Merrill and Wolfe study the lack of knowledge about IPV was the third most commonly reported cause to remain in an abusive relationship.
This might be due to the fact that historically, IPV was defined and studied in a heterosexual perspective, excluding any mention of same-gender relationships Glass and Hassouneh, ; Little and Terrance, There are few existing examples of educational campaigns on LGB IPV, although the research proved how this kind of interventions is effective in encouraging battered people to report the abuse. Consequently, LGB partners involved in violence, and people close to them services providers, family, friendsevaluated the battering as less dangerous or not harmful at all, and it usually took a longer time to recognize it as an abuse Dixon and Peterman, ; Barrett, Sexual Minority Stress Carvalho et al.
These stressors, that appear to be associated to IPV, reflected the experience of Sexual Minority Stress, a model developed by Meyer with regard to members of a stigmatized group who experienced unique and additional stressors that nobody outside the group could ever experience.
This model included internalized stressors internalized homophobia, disclosure, and stigma consciousness and externalized stressors actual experiences of violence, discrimination, and harassment Meyer, Research showed how internalized stressors were positively correlated to physical, sexual, and psychological IPV Balsam and Szymanski, ; Bartholomew et al. Thus, studies mainly focused on internalized minority stressors, such as Internalized Homophobia, establishing that IPV perpetrators addressed their negative emotions, originally self-addressed as homosexuals, to their partners.
People with internalized homophobia have been deprived by partners of positive emotions with regard to their sexual orientation and reinforced their sense of responsibility in provoking the abuse Balsam and Szymanski, ; Carvalho et al. This result might be due to the fact that research participants showed low levels of internalized homophobia, because it is rare that LGB people with high levels of internalized homophobia would cooperate for any LGB study.
A further cause could be that the sample comprised highly educated white people Carvalho et al. Two researchers reported that disclosure was positively related to the risk of physical and psychological IPV: Such findings may be due to the fact that being openly out implied a longer period of time of being victimized by the partner but also the opposite: With regard to this last aspect, perpetrators could intimidate the victim by threatening to oust them in front of their family, employer, landlord, former partner, or current guardian of their children Borne et al.
The Consciousness Stigma has been the last internalized minority stressor studied in relation to IPV. IPV perpetrators and victims reported high stigma consciousness rates; thus, it can be assumed that IPV makes people more worried about stigma consciousness and that it is positively correlated to the tendency to ignore abuse in order to protect IPV victims from the homophobic legal system.
Such results match with high stigma consciousness rates in people who are expected to suffer discrimination and be forced to avoid discriminating situations Pinel, ; Derlega et al. To what we know, literature offers several evidences regarding the connection between minority stressors and SSIPV.
As mentioned earlier, internalized stressors and IPV were strongly correlated.
Same sex domestic abuse
Some studies Balsam and Szymanski, ; Carvalho et al. On the other hand, studies on the relationship between experienced discrimination and risk of SSIPV victimization are contradictory: Pierre, ; Andrews et al.
However, it should be noted that such considerations are the result of cross-sectional studies, thereby making it difficult to determine whether a factor developed prior to, during, or after the occurrence of IPV.
This implies that it is important to be cautious in generalizing such findings; instead, further research must be conducted on predictors and associated factors Edwards et al.
Moreover, clinicians should be aware that minority stressors are one of the main obstacles for people who have experienced or are involved in IPV and seeking help, and what could assist them: IPV victims can be reluctant in seeking legal assistance, fearing discrimination or adequate legal protection.
In line with Balsam and Buford et al. The model described three aspects of the individual experience: Surviving IPV can cause guilt, shame, and self-blame, all of which are challenges in seeking help for decreased self-efficacy. Anticipated stigma, that also functions at the interpersonal level, was regarding concerns related to whether others will react with disapproval or rejection toward the survivor when they learn about the IPV, thereby affecting the decision to seek help.
Lastly, cultural stigma referred to the notion that IPV victims provoked their own victimization. However, a specific risk was highlighted in considering IPV as a universal experience, since this assumption implicated that the treatment might be the same for each person Ford et al.
There were similar aspects between heterosexual and homosexual IPV relationships, therefore policies and services tailored for heterosexual may be helpful to design specific interventions for LGB population Dixon and Peterman, ; Ristock and Timbang, Heterosexual model can be the starting point for treatments addressed to LGB people, who deserve interventions based on their own peculiar experiences and needs Finneran et al. Renzetti examined the outcomes of the application of an unspecific treatment that did not consider sexual orientation and gender.
In fact, just one out of ten victims received particular care specifically directed to lesbian women, but the remainder claimed that operators did not make any effort to comply with their needs. Other researches Giorgio, ; Helfrich and Simpson, conducted in the United States confirmed this condition: Authors reported that gay men were not perceived as domestic violence service consumers unless they were perpetrators Cheung et al. On the other hand, lesbian women highlighted a heterosexist language adopted by emergency, primary care, and other service providers Dixon and Peterman, It is considered that services are rarely available for LGB people, and when they are, it is often difficult to access them, particularly in rural areas Jeffries and Kay, ; Ford et al.
Thus, it appears clear how heterosexual IPV, widely studied, can be considered as a starting point to better investigate and address homosexual couple abuse, without overlooking LGB-specific factors Finneran et al.
While it was found that in the United States many emergency departments, shelters, agencies, and clinics had IPV advocacy programs, most of these programs historically failed in responding adequately to abuse in LGB groups Brown and Groscup, ; Hines and Douglas, ; Armstrong et al.
Domestic violence in lesbian relationships - Wikipedia
Ard and Makadon highlighted the need for a sensitive and accurate assessment, which they discussed through clinical, institutional, educational, and research suggestions. The authors indicated that providers must be alert to the possibility of IPV as a cause of distress and illness among their LGB patients.
Thus, according to them, clinicians should first inquire about sexual orientation in a sensitive and open manner, rather than simply screening for IPV Ard and Makadon, Further, clinicians must use an inclusive language, avoiding any type of homophobic attitude, beginning from the first contact with the client Eliason and Schope, ; Finneran et al. Several authors support public and specialized education believing that it would reduce the incidence of this phenomenon, by promoting earlier help-seeking and strengthening informal and formal support systems for victims McClennen, ; Borne et al.
Merrill and Wolfe recommended similar suggestions, considering that SSIPV assessment and treatment should include the following aspects: A case of inadequate attitude was offered by police officers, since they often did not recognize partners as members of a couple particularly if partners defined themselves as roommates because they were scared and did not know how to identify the abusers at an SSIPV crime scene, relying upon gender as the sole criteria.
Consequently, in LGB IPV cases, officers frequently did not arrest anyone, arrested either party, or the wrong person.
The psycho-educational intervention could list and define abusive behaviors and perpetrator tactics, examining the psychological consequences of violence, describing the cycle of violence, and going beyond common prejudices regarding LGB IPV. As an application of this suggestion, inFinneran et al. They introduced different interventions compared to heterosexual IPV protocols, serving both survivors and perpetrators.
For example, they offered batterer intervention programs as well as advocacy programs to help LGB people access the legal justice system The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center Ristock and Timbang, As the research highlights, most of the time, victims of violence asked friends and family for help before accessing services, thereby giving them a primary supporting role.
In certain cases, services were associated with community-based initiatives that involved holding workshops and forums to address healthy relationships Cronin et al. Ristock and Timbang and highlighted how discussion on building healthy relationships appeared to be more welcomed from lesbian victims than support groups for survivors.