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Domestic Violence in Lesbian Relationships - Myths, Facts

Myths about lesbian relationships and domestic violence abound, just like myths about lesbians themselves. We've outlined these myths about lesbians and domestic violence but the important thing to remember is that any type of domestic violence is wrong, whether you're in a lesbian relationship or not.

Myths About Lesbians and Domestic Violence

  • Domestic violence cannot exist in a lesbian relationship because both partners are women
  • Only the "butch" partner can be abusive
  • Since both partners are of the same sex, it must be mutually abusive or simply "fighting"
  • A physically smaller partner cannot abuse a larger partner
  • S/M is abuse and domestic violence
  • If the aggressor only attacks under the influence, drugs and alcohol are to blame
  • Victims of lesbian domestic violence have no place to go for help (Where to get domestic abuse help)
  • It is only violence if the abuser hits the victim, not if she only threatens and puts the victim down

Facts About Domestic Violence

  • Domestic violence can occur in any relationship, regardless of sexual orientation
  • Mutual fighting is not considered domestic violence, domestic violence occurs when there is one clear victim
  • Drugs and alcohol do not cause domestic violence, even if the abuser is under the influence at the time of the abuse, it can be a catalyst, but not the root cause
  • 1 in 3 women will be assaulted by an intimate partner in their lifetime (30-50% of all women)
  • 30% of LGBT couples experience domestic violence
  • 3 out of 4 women murdered are done so by their partners
  • Acts of domestic violence occur once every 15 to 18 seconds in the United States
  • 30% of all hospital emergency room admissions are female victims of domestic violence
  • Of the six million American women beaten each year, four thousand are killed
  • Domestic violence results in the death of eleven women per day

Barriers for Lesbian Survivors of Domestic Violence

  • A large barrier facing lesbian victims of abuse is the police or service agencies inability to determine who the actual victim is. Often times, the abuser will call the authorities in order to further control the victim.
  • The inability of the authorities to understand that same-sex couple domestic violence exists
  • Although domestic violence organizations are bound by confidentiality agreements, some victims are afraid others will find out about their LGBT lifestyle, their abusive relationship, or both.
  • Some victims face homophobia in social service agencies and shelters

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APA Reference
Gluck, S. (2013, April 12). Domestic Violence in Lesbian Relationships - Myths, Facts, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 19 from https://www.healthyplace.com/gender/lesbian/domestic-violence-in-lesbian-relationships-myths-facts

Last Updated: May 20, 2019

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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