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Reporting your Partner (GLBT [Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered] Couples and the Trouble with Reporting Domestic Violence)

The sad stories pertaining to gay and lesbian domestic violence often go unheard. There are moments when they are swept under the rug, though most times they are just never reported to begin with. Some men and women in a domestic violence situation think they deserve this treatment, others believe they love their partner and are seriously hoping they will change. Then there are such reasons as the fear of reporting the incidents and the embarrassment that will hit you from all ends. It makes a person in this situation think long and hard about what they will do. The desperation they feel is next to nothing else you could imagine, and yet those feelings are forced to take a backseat while the individual makes decisions that could affect their life forever. 

There are many reasons that a victim in a same-sex incident may not report domestic violence. Often times a relationship involves one partner offering more financial support than the other in the relationship. If the dependant partner is being beat they may wonder where they could possibly go, were they to leave. Sure, leaving is a good answer - but leaving only to end up being homeless is hardly a viable solution. If he or she has nowhere to go, and their family won't accept them, they may feel like they have no choice but to stay in the abusive relationship. In many cases domestic violence goes much further than physical violence. The abuser may attempt to take control of all money in the house so that their partner cannot, or will not, be able to leave. No matter the specific reason in this case, unlike heterosexual women, gay men and lesbian women do not have nearly enough options on how to get out of these situations. There are not enough battered men shelters, nor ways domestic violence in gay relationships can be reported - or even taken seriously enough. That is why it is so difficult to get the victim to see that leaving is the right thing to do. 

If the victim cannot leave on their own it is highly unlikely that they are going to report the abuse. Logically speaking, it makes perfect sense why GLBT domestic crimes are not reported to the local officials where the problems are occurring. The main reason is that these police officers are not equipped to deal with the problems of gay domestic violence. Additionally, the chance of emotional damage caused by the torture the police put the gay man through is enough to keep him away. Can you honestly imagine an effeminate gay man who is battered walking into a small town Alabama police station to press charges against his gay lover? It's highly unlikely. 

Unfortunately, these men (sometimes rightfully so) believe that in pressing charges they are opening themselves up to more pain. There is a fear that the police will take aggression out on them for being gay, or that no one will take the problem seriously because it's not the same as heterosexual domestic violence. In fact, some areas do not even view same-sex violence in couple situations to be domestic violence because same-sex relationships are not validated by the American government. 

So, in the mind of these specific battered victims it is better to find a situation on their own rather than face intolerance and bigotry in the local government - which could even mean more abuse, or outing themselves publicly. It makes sense to just stay quiet. Outing themselves could be nothing compared to the tales of violence and rape at the hands of police that some battered men could tell you. Staying quiet isn't right, and it should never have to be an option, but when your options are so limited (and these men have already been through enough hell) the option of telling isn't as lucrative as it needs to be. 

Of course, there is also the issue of the political climate. Whether gays or lesbians want to get married themselves the majority can agree it is a right that all gays and lesbians should be afforded. While most domestic violence cases do not even receive an honorable mention in the news, GLBT violence is most likely to receive mentions and assumptions about the entire community with the intent to stop human rights from moving forward. When the community is fighting so hard to be shown we are real people, too, there are those men and women that will keep their mouths shut in hopes of keeping the community clean - a continued effort toward getting the rights we can all agree GLBT individuals deserve.

Lambda - http://lambda.org/ 
SAFE: Stop Abuse for Everyone - http://www.safe4all.org 
The Survivor Project - http://www.survivorproject.org/ 
Male Depression Site - http://www.maledepression.com 
RAINN: Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network - http://www.rainn.org

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