Some Illinois residents may think of domestic violence as being limited to heterosexual couples, but domestic violence for same-sex couples has historically occurred at similar rates. In fact, according to figures from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, one in four non-heterosexual relationships involve some degree of abusive behavior. While domestic abuse varies in form, the defining trait, according to authorities on the subject, are the employment of fear, intimidation, shame, guilt and, sometimes, threats of physical violence by one partner to exercise control over the other partner.
A recent study suggests that domestic violence in same-sex relationships is more prevalent than previously thought. Nearly 0.5 million gay men are battered by their partners each year. An estimated 50,000 to 100,000 lesbians are also victims of domestic violence.
The starting point for victims of domestic violence is to be reminded that abuse is never acceptable. No person deserves to be abused, asserted the experts; people deserve to be treated with respect by their partners and to feel safe in their relationships. Once the person escapes the abusive relationship, the healing process can begin. Remembering what happened, trusting the victim’s perceptions, understanding that the violence is never the victim’s fault and breaking the silence to discuss the situation with others are all important steps to recovery.
Any person who is being abused by a spouse or domestic partner has a right to seek help. A family law attorney may be able to help obtain a restraining order or similar injunction against the abuser. When children are involved, it may also be possible to file for sole custody, child support and a restraining order to protect the children as well with the attorney’s help.
Source: Huffington Post , “‘It’s (Just) the Way That I Love You’: Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse in Same-Sex Relationships (Part 5)“, Wyatt O’Brian Evans, September 04, 2013