Domestic violence is a widespread problem that occurs all over the United States, in fact, domestic violence problems occur all over the world. The term domestic violence is generally applied to married couples, however the problem occurs between unmarried couples, as well as same-sex couples. Domestic violence statistics can be shocking, studies show that one in four women experience domestic violence in their lifetime, and women are not the only ones subject to violence. While women do account for 85% of victims, while men account for 15%. Often times when people think of domestic violence, they think of heterosexuals couple, but domestic violence occurs in gay and lesbian relationships more often than thought, in fact the rates of domestic violence in same-sex relationships is about the same as in heterosexual relationships.
In many aspects, domestic violence in gay and lesbian relationships is the same as in heterosexual relationships. Abuse can be physical, psychological, emotional, and sexual, and normally occurs in a cyclical fashion. Often times abuse is used as a tool to control and have power over one's partner, and this abuse leaves the victim feeling alone, and many times they come up with reasons for why the abuse is their fault. Abusers not only feel a sense of power but they also use abuse as a punishment if their partner resists their control.
While domestic violence in many aspects is the same in all relationships, in some ways, same-sex couples experience domestic violence differently. Resources for same-sex couples in domestic violence situations tend to be scarce, and many times victims are hesitant to tell heterosexuals about the abuse as they afraid that it will reinforce the misconception that same-sex relationships are dysfunctional. Due to different marriage laws many same-sex couples do not have the legal rights that married couples do concerning their finances so it is much harder for same-sex couples to make sure that their assets are divided evenly. Also, while there are many resources and support groups available for heterosexual victims of domestic violence, these resources and groups are not as readily available to gay and lesbian couples and this can result in the total isolation of the victim if they leave their abuser.
There are many similarities and differences between heterosexual couples, and same-sex couples when it comes to domestic violence but no matter what the differences, no one should ever have to experience domestic violence, whether you are dating someone or in a long term relationship, it is never okay to experience domestic violence. While there may not be as many domestic violence resources available to gay and lesbian couples as there are for heterosexual couples, there are ways to get help, and various resources are available. If you are a victim of domestic violence, or you suspect a loved one of being a victim, it is important to seek help and stay out of danger.
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