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Domestic violence is a key public health issue since it affects a large percentage of the United States and the global population annually. Domestic violence is considered as any form of abusive behaviors such as sexual harm, physical harm or psychological harm used by one of the partners or ex-partners in a relationship to gain control over the other. According to the center for disease control and prevention, various types of domestic violence include first, sexual violence, which involves the use of sex to control the other partner for example by forcing them to engage in sex without their will. Secondly, physical violence, that involves the use of physical abuse to control a relationship. Thirdly, emotional violence, where one partner in a relationship makes the other feel worthless and have low self-esteem, due to continuous humiliation and threats of being harmed. Fourth, social control that involves one partner in a relationship trying to separate the other from family and friends through continuous monitoring to ensure that they meet the family or friends. Most of the domestic violence cases are not defined with the sexual orientation of the population involved thus resulting in the cases being assumed to be opposite-sex domestic violence cases Balsam, (Kimberly & Dawn p.26). However, Domestic violence is not only common in the different sex relationship but also present in the same-sex relationships, for example, the lesbians, people, and bisexual relationships. This study aims to assess whether domestic violence is more or less common in the same-sex relationships.
According to a study in the United States, the number of cases among the same-sex relationship is significantly higher than those in the heterosexual relationship. The gays and lesbians have an equal chance of abusing their relationship partners, as it is the case for those in the heterosexual relationship. According to a study by Murry, same-sex, domestic violence tends to occur in approximately one quarter to one-half of the same-sex relationships in the United States, with the partners experiencing different types of domestic violence. In the united states, Approximately 22 to 46% of the lesbians in a relationship and approximately 22% guys have undergone through physical abuse or violence, 7 to 55% of lesbians in a relationship have had an experience of sexual abuse(Brown & Jennifer, p84). Approximately 52% of a sample of both lesbian and gay men has had an experience of sexual manipulation in their relationships (Brown & Jennifer, p84). Also, approximately one-third of person men and lesbians have also had an experience of emotional or psychological violence.
However, the gay men in a relationship are at a higher chance of experiencing almost all types of same-sex domestic violence except for sexual abuse as compared to the lesbians. Therefore, same-sex domestic violence affects approximately one quarter to nearly three-quarters of people, lesbians, and bisexual individuals in the United States (McClennen & Joan, p150). The domestic violence prevalence rates tend to be higher in the same-sex relationships as compared to the individuals in opposite-sex domestic violence. The increase in cases of domestic violence among the same-sex relationship is due to the presence of the internal and external stressors that occur as a result of being associated to a sexual minority group that is highly vulnerable to domestic violence. The internal stressors include the internalized negative attitude concerning homosexuality while the external stressors are discrimination and violence against people. The occurrence of this stressors hinder the people in the same-sex relationship from reporting the cases of domestic violence that they happen to go through since they fear that might not get the support from the various agencies and authorities. This has highly contributed to the increase in the number of same-sex domestic violence cases as compared to those in the heterosexual relationship.
Causes of same-sex domestic violence
People living with HIV are predicted to be at increased risk of same-sex domestic violence while on the other hand, the victims of same-sex domestic violence tend to be at a higher chance of HIV infection. According to a study by the center for disease control and prevention, that was focused on the relationship between the sexual risk behavior, same-sex domestic violence, and HIV status among men who tend to have sex with other men. Approximately 70% of all the new HIV diagnosis among young adults in the united states is gay men (Murray& Christine, p370). Same-sex domestic violence has been identified as the cause of the high number of cases of HIV infection among gay men due to their possibility of being involved in risky sexual behavior after being involved in violence with their partners. For example is a partner in a same-sex relationship is involved in physical or sexual violence he is at a high chance of engaging in risky sexual behaviors with thus causing him contracting HIV.
HIV /AIDS also triggers more problems for those involved in the violent same-sex relationship. Such issues may occur emotionally, health wise or financially particularly for the individual with the HIV infection or the perpetrator. The individuals who are HIV positive tend to depend on their partners financially thus making it a challenge for them to abandon the violent relationship since. In case the one the individual with HIV is the victim of the relationship the abusing partner may tend to control the finances with the intention of having control over the victim's life. Even at the moments when they have the strength to work, they suffer discrimination in the workplace. Therefore, their partners take advantage of their situations and try to control every amount they possess.
The abusers in the same-sex relationship tend to also use emotional tactic as a way of controlling the partner who is HIV positive. The abuser often threatens to reveal the victims status to the rest of the population. This helps them to gain total control over their relationship while the victim is forced to withstand the abusive relationship. If it is the abuser who is HIV positive, the domestic violence victim may fear to leave the relationship since he may be viewed as an uncaring and discriminatory towards the partner thus he is forced to remain in the relationship and withstand the violence. On the other hand, if the domestic violence victim is HIV positive, the abuser may claim that the victim cannot get another partner due to his HIV status, this kind of emotional blackmailing makes the domestic violence victim not to leave the relationship but instead continue to bear with the domestic violence.
The abuser may also purposefully use HIV/AIDS as a way of controlling their partners. For example, the abuser my tamper with the victim's pre-exposure prophylaxis that prevents the spread of the disease or convince the partner not to use the medication through the use of social stigma that surrounds the medication. This will result in the spread of the disease to the other partner thus acting as a way to control him. When both partners acquire HIV, it becomes had for the domestic violence victim to abandon the relationship thus; he is left with the choice of bearing the violence.
Psychological factors have been noted to be the key cause of violence in the same-sex relationship. In an insecure attachment where one of the partners fears being abandoned in a relationship, there are often cases of same-sex domestic violence since the abuser tries to be in control to eliminate the chances of being abandoned or the relationship breaking up. For example through imposing certain restrictions on the partners and also denying them a certain freedom. Psychological factors in the same-sex relationship often occur due to one of the partners perceiving the absence of power and control due to various threats that tend to arise in a relationship such as breakups. Psychological Factors such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorders are the key causes of violence and victimization in the same-sex relationships in the United States (Brown & Carrie, p90). For example, in this case, the posttraumatic stress disorder predictive power may interact with an individual's previous exposure to violence from the individual's family origin. This makes them perpetuate or trigger violence in the same-sex relationship with the intention of being in control due to the fear of having of experiencing the same event as those from his home origin.
Alcohol and substance abuse is considered a key cause of domestic violence in all kinds of relationships. However considering that the lesbians, gays, and bisexual s tend to abuse alcohol and other substances at a higher rate than those in the heterosexual relationship show that abuse of alcohol and other substances acts the key contributing factor to the same-sex domestic violence. The individuals in same-sex relationships such as lesbians and gays tend to abuse this drug at a higher rate than the heterosexual relationship due to the continuous discrimination for their minority sexual status (Stanley & Jessica, p39). Alcohol and substance abuse may act as a precipitator for violence in the same-sex relationship in that. First, in case one of the partners in the relationship is engaged in substance abuse there may be the presence of continuous disagreement in the relationship which may lead to one of the partners attempting to control the other by either initiating financial restriction to prevent the victim from engaging in substance abuse. The partner may also decide to impose certain restrictions such as choosing the type of friends the partner is expected to hang out with or even restricting them from going out of the household as a way of keeping him off the drugs. Substance abuse also tends to result in partners engaging in fights and breakups. At various instances, the substance abuse may also lead to partners in the same sex relationship engaging in sexual relations with other individuals outside their relationship, which may result in HIV infections. However, substance abuse may also act as a way of coping with the violence from the same-sex relationship. The victim partner tends to abuse alcohol as a way of making him or her forget the various violations that he may be going through for example the financial restrictions or movement restriction.
The effects of domestic violence on the same-sex relationship
Challenges accessing services
Most of the shelters in the United States were created with the intention of serving the female who has undergone opposite-sex domestic violence. There are very limited shelters to help the male victims involved in the same-sex domestic violence. It is therefore difficult for the same-sex domestic violence victims to seek for shelter since the shelters tend to be highly selective depending on the gender. In some cases, both the abuser and the victim could be offered shelter services at the same moment and location thus the victim may not be ensured of safety without being caught or pursued by the abusing partner.
Also, the victims of same-sex domestic violence tend to experience high-level discrimination and limitation to their legal rights. Some of the American states usually deny the victims of the same sex violence the right to apply for a protective order against their abusing partners (Rohr Baugh & Joanna, p290). Even though the American supreme court declared sodomy laws as unconstitutional in the country in some of the states are still enforcing them.
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