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Almost half of gay men encounter intimate partner violence

Abuse among gay couples stems from stress factors that also apply to heterosexual couples, such as money issues, unemployment, and drug abuse. However, gay couples are said to face additional stress from internalized homophobia, which may also contribute to IPV.

Not just women’s issue.

Nearly half of men in same-sex couples suffered some form of abuse at the hands of their partner, according to a study that surveyed 320 men (160 male couples) in Atlanta, Boston and Chicago in the US to measure emotional abuse, controlling behaviors, monitoring of partners, and HIV-related abuse.

PHOTO BY ELVIN RUIZ FROM UNSPLASH.COM

The study – “Dyadic Reporting of Intimate Partner Violence Among Male Couples in Three U.S. Cities” by Nicolas A. Suarez, Matthew J. Mimiaga, Robert Garofalo, Emily Brown, Anna Marie Bratcher, Taylor Wimbly, Marco A. Hidalgo, Samuel Hoehnle, Jennie Thai, Erin Kahle, Patrick S. Sullivan and Rob Stephenson – found that 46% experience some form of intimate partner violence (IPV) in the last year, belying the misconception that this is only a woman’s issue.

“If you just looked at physical and sexual violence in male couples, it’s about 25% to 30%, roughly the same as women,” study author Rob Stephenson was quoted as saying by Webmd.com. “We’re stuck in this mental representation of domestic violence as a female victim and a male perpetrator, and while that is very important, there are other forms of domestic violence in all types of relationships.”

Abuse among gay couples stems from stress factors that also apply to heterosexual couples, such as money issues, unemployment, and drug abuse. However, gay couples are said to face additional stress from internalized homophobia, which may also contribute to IPV.

Another abuse factor related specifically to male couples is the degree of “outedness,” which the study says can create a dynamic of “bidirectional violence as well as creating a power imbalance where the ‘out’ partner may threaten to disclose his partner’s sexual orientation and lead to further violence.

HIV-related issues also surface in gay abusive relationships, particularly if there is lack of communication about HIV status and if one of the partners is unable to enforce condom use as a form of protection.

This study actually only backs earlier findings on IPV in LGBTQIA relationships. For instance, in Associations Between Alcohol Use and Intimate Partner Violence Among Men Who Have Sex with Men, published in LGBT Health, Davis Alissa, Kaighobadi Farnaz, Stephenson Rob, Rael Christine and Sandfort Theodorus noted that although alcohol use is a known trigger of IPV.

Alcohol use among MSM tied with intimate partner violence

This newer study was first published online in May, and appeared in the July issue of the American Journal of Men’s Health.

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