Domestic violence is a significant problem in the United States. Up to 4 million women in the United States suffer domestic abuse from their partner each year, but the issue affects men as well. Research shows that gay men are increasingly at risk from domestic violence, but it's often harder for this group to get help and support. Learn more about the challenge of domestic violence for gay men and what victims can do in these situations.
What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence occurs when one partner in an intimate relationship in some way abuses the other person. This abuse includes physical violence, verbal insults, threats and humiliation. Support groups agree that once domestic violence begins, the problem generally grows worse. Domestic abuse can happen to anyone but support groups often focus solely on women. While a significant number of women need help, this perception means that some people overlook gay men in abusive situations.
Gay men are sometimes subject to unique forms of domestic abuse. An abusive partner may threaten to expose his partner's sexuality at work or to friends and family. Police officers may overlook same-sex domestic violence because they believe that the violence is among equals.
How common is domestic violence for gay men?
A 2014 study by the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine found that domestic abuse was consistently higher in same-sex relationships than heterosexual couples. In 2013, the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control released the results of an earlier study that examined victimization by sexual violence. While the survey did not focus specifically on domestic violence, the results showed that 40 percent of gay men had been with a violent partner.
Reasons for domestic abuse in same-sex relationships
The 2014 study also concluded that certain domestic abuse triggers were unique to same-sex relationships. Researchers concluded that gay men were susceptible to internal and external stressors. External stressors included discrimination and violence against gay men, while the internal stressors included negative attitudes about homosexuality and other emotional problems.
Many states and cities now have support groups that focus on offering support to people in same-sex relationships who are experiencing domestic violence. Groups that normally support women will almost certainly try to help, even if it is just to put you in touch with a more specialist group. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) changed in 2013 to protect victims of same-sex domestic abuse.
Laws about domestic violence vary between states. Some states offer same-sex couples the same protection as heterosexual couples. Other states do not yet legally recognize gay marriage or same-sex partnerships. In these states, it's unlikely you would have any protection from specific domestic abuse laws.
In any case, if you think you are unsafe, you should always contact the police for help. The police can prosecute people for many domestic abuse offenses under other laws. In other situations, you should also consider contacting a domestic violence attorney for more help.
Domestic violence does not just affect women, and research shows that gay men are increasingly at risk from this type of abuse. If you are a victim of this crime, don't suffer in silence. Speak out, and get help today.
For more information, visit http://www.jdlarsonlaw.com or a similar website.