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Going Too far: Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, and Transgenders & Domestic Violence

Imagining a domestic violence situation usually brings up thoughts of one partner hitting the other. While this pattern of abuse may be the most typical, it is not the only way for domestic violence to rear its ugly head. If you have ever been in a relationship where you have been forcibly restrained against your will, or isolated from those you loved (in order to remain with your partner) then you have been a victim of domestic violence. If you have been threatened repeatedly, emotionally abused in any way, been stalked, sexually abused, or even had your money controlled by your partner (non-consensually) then you are a victim of domestic violence. 

The sad truth is this problem is more wide spread than anyone wants to imagine. In fact, studies have shown that, in gay relationships alone, one in five gay men are abused by their partners. That means that a whopping 20% of all gay men are abused in some form, or another, by their partners. What is even worse is the fact that it is much harder to find a place for help and understanding that the abused partner in a homosexual relationship can turn to. 

At one point it was believed that men were able to take care of themselves. Society held the narrow-minded view that all men could handle violent situations, so domestic violence in the gay world just was not possible. These latest studies crack that myth in half by showing just how serious the problem is. Not only do you, or someone you know, have a good chance of suffering from abuse in one relationship or another but men up to age 40 and men who are HIV positive have an even greater chance of dealing with abuse. 

When dealing with HIV positive men it seemed that things were fine until they explained to their partner they had a disease. Once these men told their partners the truth they were subjected to large amounts of physical and emotional abuse. In the cases of the men that do not work, and were dependant on their partners financially, it often became a choice of living with abuse or not knowing where they would live at all. 

Though it may not seem obvious to someone outside of the GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered) circle, abuse occurs so easily because nothing is done to stop it. The average police force is not equipped to deal with the idea of homosexual domestic violence. In many of these cases it also means additional emotional damage to the man reporting these injustices. Laws are not meant to deal with the idea that a homosexual couple is even acknowledged or recognizable - much less that they are dealing with illegal issues, such as battery or violence. 

When you add this to the fact that there are very few suitable shelters for homosexuals, then you have a man that - not only has to live through one of the most trying events in his life - but is also placed in a very hopeless situation. Many men feel they have nowhere to go, and it's quite obvious why they should feel this way: there truly is no place left for them to turn. 

These are problems that are not going away. Contributing to this growing problem is the fact that gays and lesbians are hard-pressed when it comes to reporting these issues, and letting them out into the light. Usually the victim of abuse in a gay- or lesbian- based relationship remains silent. Of course, although we believe they should admit there is a problem, we cannot cast blame at them for remaining quiet. 

The GLBT world deals with stereotypes every single day. They fight for their rights, be it on an individual level or for the entire community. Whether you want to, or not, you will always have something to prove - no matter if it is in your own mind or someone else's perception of you. Most men and women realize this and, let's face it, whether you are leaning towards feminine or masculine a man is a man, a woman is a woman, and they all have their pride. 

It is very embarrassing to be seen as a victim of such abuse. There are a lot of men and women that do not want to paint the picture of a 'negative side' to the GLBT world - especially when there is already so much fighting for acceptance, acknowledgement, and rights that needs to be done. Although a sad fact, it seems much more logical, in light of our fight, to keep the dirty secrets swept under the rug, where no one can find and exploit them, and leave the abused alone to deal with his or her own trauma.

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