I heard through the grapevine that a popular star was leaving his partner (also a popular star) on account of domestic abuse. I was like WHAT?! It doesn’t seem like a stretch to imagine it happens but for some reason I did not see that a possible let alone common occurrence that has been extensively researched. According to some studies, as many as 1 in 4 gay men in the US are victims of domestic abuse within a same-sex relationship. This abuse cuts across all age groups. educational, racial and socio-economic backgrounds. It is also more prevalent that abuse seen in males (and possibly females) in heterosexual relationships. Domestic abuse in lesbian relationships even higher: up to 45% of females have reported some sort of abuse.
This means that it may even be more prevalent, since domestic abuse is frequently under-reported. The other interesting fact is that it is usually pre-meditated unlike domestic abuse involving heterosexual couples. This abuse may not always be physical and frequently is not.
I recently went to lunch with a couple of friends A and B during which A said his bf lost his temper the day before and shouted at him for 30mins nonstop. B immediately spoke up and said that A should tell his bf that under no circumstances should such ridiculous shouting ever be employed in their relationship. He added that A is not financially or otherwise dependent on his bf and should not hesitate to leave the union should this behaviour repeat itself. I felt it was reasonable (if a tad harsh) advice buth when I asked B about his strong stance he just laughed said “you youngsters really don’t know anything” and left it at that. I was really surprised to see the same lines in a guide for preventing domestic abuse that I came across.
If I were ever in this situation would I tell anyone?
Probably not. HELL NO!
In our ultra-macho environment, that would be taken as the ultimate sign of being the biggest weakling ever. Already support for gay people in general is non-existent. I would probably just leave the relationship. Or bash his head in when he comes home from work. Or stab him while he’s asleep. Or brand him with his pressing iron. All these would definitely come before reporting him. Guess I’ve answered my question of how I didn’t know this crime existed in gay relationships.
Sometimes it’s not just the physical abuse though. It’s the mental and emotional part. Such the fear of being outed by your abuser. The fear of never making another connection and ending up alone. On paper, it seems like it would be better to be alone than to be in any sort of abusive relationship but it’s harder in reality. I know the number of people I’ve
hooked up with dated with the hopes of meeting that someone and how discouraging it is every time it doesn’t work out. Most guys around me get married to women, some because they want to and others because they are afraid of the stigma and cannot handle the pressure from their families. Finding someone who will stick with you in a world where it is not even legal is like finding a particular needle in a box of identical needles. It would be hard (I think) to leave in the face of any abuse that is not physical. Maybe it’s part of the reason why some abused people feel would rather take the blame on themselves for the way they are treated and in some instances defend their partner than face the true source of the problem. Fear can be such a great motivator.
I really do commend A for coming telling us. Sometimes it pays to ask for help.
Some interesting reads on the subject: