Believe it or not, people within the LGBT community are some of the biggest skeptics against same-sex violence. Some members of the community feel as though they are above what is considered “heterosexual problems” such as domestic abuse. This causes victims of same-sex abuse to become silent about their abuse. The Atlantic recently did an article that discussed the fear that comes with being a victim of domestic violence. By interviewing real people that have been abused by their partners (Jose, LaTesha and Sam), the article showed how same-sex couples can go through the same signs of abuse that straight couples do. There were threats, there was mental, emotional and, of course physical abuse. This raises controversy as to why, in most cases, LGBT members aren’t protected when it comes to abuse.
Girls just being girls
Battered women are almost always protected by their male companions when it comes to abuse. Whether the couple is married, dating engaged or even divorced, the man is likely to be convicted of abuse. But when a woman puts her hands on another woman, many refuse to take it seriously. A video from openly lesbian activist Melange LaVonne discusses what tends to happen in a lesbian abusive relationship. According to the song, most of the violence that happens is verbal, but can lead to a physical situation. This can include, but is not limited to, throwing things, shoving and hitting their spouse.
The damage LaVonne describes is what a straight woman would be protected against, but with women, is looked at as women simply having an argument. In another video from Girls Just Don’t Do That , a more vivid account of the abuse is shown.
Men in same-sex abuse situations
The stigma for men who suffer same-sex domestic abuse is usually that men are supposed to fight back in violent situations. When it’s someone you love, however, domestic violence doesn’t have a gender. One reason that many men refuse to report abuse is because they don’t want to be looked as “soft” for not fighting their spouse back. YouTube personality and gay activist Sampson247 made a video about his experience with a violent partner. In the video, he explained that while he and his partner were the same physical size, he didn’t hit his partner back initially. This was because, in his eyes, it was wrong to abuse someone you’re in a relationship with.
Another reason why men specifically are silent about same-sex domestic abuse is because their abusers may threaten to “out” them to their family and friends. While being outed is something that can be threatening to anyone in the LGBT community, men tend to be a little more sensitive about being outed. Once their abusive partner knows this, they will use that information to continue with the abuse. This is what happened to a gay male victim in a DudleySafeandSound YouTube video. In the video, the victim’s ex-boyfriend put pressure on him to come out, which is how the abuse started. The boyfriend, Darren, would hurt the victim (whose name remained anonymous) and even threatened to tell his family that the victim had AIDS. Threats like this are why victims remain silent and fear that they won’t be helped once they actually do decide to say something.
When there are children involved
Having children is difficult for any couple, but it is found to be especially difficult in LGBT couples. The couple needs to decide, in some cases, who will provide their DNA for the child, which, if things go sour in the relationship, can affect the custody of the children. According to an article from the Center of American Progress, since some states don’t support adoption laws with same-sex couples, a spouse may not have any legal rights to the child after a split. The article says that same-sex abusers can use this against their victim as a way to continue the abuse.