Lesbians affected by domestic violence, report says
16 October 1998
Lesbians affected by domestic violence, report says
A new report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs indicates that of
3,327 domestic violence cases self-reported among Gays in
12 U.S. cities last year, about half involved Lesbian,
bisexual, and transgender
NCAVP, which represents 25 Gay victim advocacy and documentation programs nationwide,
released its second Annual Report on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Domestic
Violence on Tuesday, 6 October 1998. Program coordinators said the aim was to document the
prevalence of domestic violence among Gays in certain cities and to identify which state
laws permit victims of such violence to obtain court orders for protection.
Susan Holt, program coordinator for domestic violence services at the L.A. Gay and
Lesbian Center, said, "When were looking at the difference between the two
reports, it really is true" that domestic violence is as serious a problem for Gays
as hate crimes.
"The fact is, Gay men and Lesbians are more likely to be injured by an intimate
partner than a stranger," Holt said.
The domestic violence study documented cases from Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York,
San Diego, Minneapolis, Boston, Denver, Chicago, St. Louis, Cleveland, Little Rock, Ark.,
and Columbus, Ohio.
Of the 3,327 cases reported, 1,746 (52 percent) were among men and 1,581 (48 percent)
occurred among women. The report indicated that 105 persons in the report identified as transgender women and four identified as transgender men.
Holt said academic prevalence studies suggest that between 25 percent and 33 percent of
all Gay male and Lesbian relationships involve abuse the same prevalence rate found
in heterosexual relationships.
Closet: Domestic Violence in Lesbian and Gay Relationships: A Western
Australian Perspective, by: Lee Vickers
The report is interesting for a variety of reasons. It not only confirms
other reports on the greater than average extent and prevalence of domestic
violence in same-sex relationships, it also perpetuates myths and perhaps even
creates new ones although it claims to disclose and debunk myths about gay
DV. Quotes from the report are shown indented in the following.
As a heterosexual feminist with an
interest in the operation and effects of patriarchy, violence against women by
their male partners has been and remains a central concern to me. Lesbian and
gay domestic violence has not been an issue which I have considered previously
in any depth and it is generally the case that same sex domestic violence is
not a subject often discussed in feminist domestic violence discourse.
Obviously, "objective feminist scientific
research" is an oxymoron.
Nevertheless, the report
identifies that DV is of higher than average prevalence in same-sex
relationships, although the statistics mentioned are as varied as the studies
that produce them.
But what about violence in lesbian
relationships? The incidence I thought would be substantially less, absent the
patriarchal male-female gender dynamic and its accompanying power
differential. Furthermore, 'female' as socially constructed emphasises caring,
mutuality, passivity and non aggression, and thus intimate relationships
between women are more likely to be 'equal' and 'non violent'.
The above view, which I think is
certainly not atypical, is clearly refuted by the literature.
Right, nothing new there. What is new or at
least relatively uncommon is that a feminist accepts it as being true and
talks about it that women are more likely than men to be violent. The most
interesting aspect of that escapes her. Given that lesbian relationships are
the most violent of all, doesn't it follow that that is proof that the vast
majority of all domestic violence is caused by women? I shudder to think of
a society (the feminist dream) in which all men
have been eradicated or have, as
Sally Miller Gearheart and Mary Daly propose, their numbers reduced
by 80 percent. Picture the horrors and violence in a society (or in
"families") in which the moderating influence by men is absent.
That is not something imaginary. Such societies exist right
now. Patricia Pearson described them quite well in the chapter "Island
of Women" in her book "When She Was Bad :
Violent Women and the Myth of Female Innocence". That chapter of her book
identifies that violence in women's prisons is more than twice as common as it
is in men's prisons.
Moreover, Patricia Pearson writes that while it is estimated
that 20 percent of women sentenced to serve time in prison are natural
lesbians (which means that lesbians are ten times more likely than normal
women to serve time in prison), another 60 percent or more of women in prison
become lesbians of convenience while they serve time in prison. (p. 215)
That makes women's prisons almost exclusive lesbian societies. No wonder there
is so much violence there.
While research exploring the
incidence of same sex domestic violence is more limited, researchers and
workers in the lesbian and gay community generally agree that the incidence of
domestic violence in same sex relationships is comparable to that in
That contradicts what she said earlier. The facts, however, show that the
incidence rates of DV in same-sex relationships are not only comparable to
those in heterosexual relationships, they are substantially higher, and not
only that. They are substantially higher and highest of all in lesbian
The Silencing Effects of a
Heterosexist and Homophobic Society
The role of homophobia and
heterosexism in maintaining the silence is profound, both on individual
survivors and the level of community acknowledgment.
What a crock. That is not an objective commentary on scientific facts, it
is extremely subjective dialectic. Not once does she mention anywhere the
silencing effects of homosexist and heterophobic activists and interest
groups. Yet, those are the real reason why gay DV has been and remains hidden
from view. Moreover, she herself identifies that problem in her own words.
It is unlikely that the
heterosexual community will support efforts to address same sex domestic
violence unless the lesbian and gay community acknowledges its existence and
organises to address the problem. Regrettably, the reluctance of the lesbian
and gay community to discuss and address same sex domestic violence is widely
reported in the literature.
Still she can't find the right words to describe the problem. Homosexism
and heterophobia are not part of her vocabulary. Interestingly, instead of
leaving the blame for that where it correctly belongs; she puts it, contrary
to the evidence she found and discusses, squarely where her ideology compels
her to believe it should be put, on "heterosexism and homophobia".
Much of this reluctance can be
attributed to, directly or indirectly, heterosexism and homophobia.
And with that I rest my case. What is the use of analyzing propagandistic
utterings by ideologues pretending to comment objectively on scientific
findings? Being objective is contrary to everything they stand for, it is not
something they are capable of doing.
Once more, objective feminist research (or commentary) is an oxymoron.
However, what all of these discussions of allegedly gay pathologies or
idiosyncracies have in common, they lend an air of respectability to
homosexuality by labelling more or less normal human failings (or virtues) as
being homosexual attributes. If nothing else, that will bring the discussion
of homosexuality out into the open and thereby make homosexuality more
acceptable. Who can refuse to be sympathetic towards any kind of victim,
The recipe for success in garnering
concern for a given cause it to convince people that it concerns a group of
victims whose victimhood is greater or more valuable than anyone else's. That
way even the most atrocious and vile mass-murderers can be worthy of our
Homosexuals comprise a disproportionately large number of sexually
tinged serial killers and mass
murderers , but, regardless of what anybody may say, those poor people are
nothing other than victims of their inner demons never mind the suffering of
the far greater number of victims they torture and kill. That no longer
A study of 518
sexually-tinged mass murders in the U.S. from 1966 to 1983 determined that
350 (68%) of the victims were killed by those who practiced homosexuality
and that 19 (44%) of the 43 murderers were bisexuals or homosexuals.(2)
Though probably less
than a majority of mass murderers are homosexual, given that no more than
3% of the populace is gay, homosexual murderers show up much more
frequently than one would expect (even Richard Speck engaged in
homosexuality). Along with serial murder, there appears to be a connection
between homosexuality and murder. Evidence from before the gay rights
movement is limited. Of 444 homicides in one jurisdiction from 1955-1973,
investigators noted 5 clear "sexual motivation" murders. Three of the 5
involved homosexuality and 2 involved heterosexuality.
Violence and Homosexuality, by Paul Cameron, Ph. D.;
Family Research Institute
Which relationships are more violent, heterosexual or homosexual
Research Institute reports:
The most common heterosexual relationship
is marriage. Violence occurs in marriage, but the rate is fairly low. For
married women, 0.24% experience a violent attack from their husband each year
(that is, about 1 of every 400 married women). Even if separated women are
included in the estimate for married women, the rate only rises to 0.60% (that
is, about 1 of every 167 married women). By contrast, for women, the rate of
intimate violence within homosexual on-going relationships appears to be
approximately 4 to 10 times higher than for married women.
So for a woman, living with a man in
marriage is close to 10 times less dangerous than having an on-going sexual
relationship with a woman.
For men, the figures are even more stark.
On average, intimate violence strikes about 142,000 men per year. Of this
number, 46.1% of the attacks are by their wife or ex-wife, 44.4% by a
girlfriend or former girlfriend, and 9.6% by a boyfriend or former boyfriend.
Dividing by the total number of married, separated, or divorced men, we find
that 0.075% of men are attacked by their wives and 7.9% by their ex-wives (or
wives from whom they are separated). A combined 0.11% of married and separated
husbands are attacked each year by their spouses or ex-spouses.
Compared to male homosexual 'on-going
partnerships,' of which at least 2.0% experienced violent abuse from an
intimate in the past year, married men who are not separated are at least 25
times less apt to be domestically attacked than a homosexual male in an
'on-going relationship.' Even if we include all married and separated
husbands, the risk of domestic violence in a male-male homosexual relationship
is still at least 18 times greater.
Gay Domestic Violence Trends
Lesbian Domestic Violence
Dale's Disk An HTML version of Dale O'Leary's files
on issues of homosexuality and families Material that has been prepared for those
who are interested in promoting the truth about homosexuality.
2000 05 23 (to show link to information about lesbian DV)
2001 02 01 (format changes)
2003 09 20 (added reference to The Second Closet and related comments)