So you hear about domestic abuse and usually there is one picture that comes to mind. You know the one. A working class man, usually with a pot belly, is standing over a woman cowering on the floor somewhere in between the refrigerator and the sink. He straddles her with his fist clinched, poised to strike. She’s covering up a bloody mouth or holding a blacking eye with one hand while whimpering and begging her husband or boyfriend to stop plummeting her. Usually this said raging significant other is uttering insults and obscenities while wearing a sleeveless tee that is ironically his role’s name sake. On rare occasions, this picture is replaced with an enraged woman chasing a man with a baseball bat or a frying pan ready to do bodily harm. There is still yet another image that people rarely consider and the media almost never report is that of a man being battered by another man or a woman being beaten by another woman.
According to the American Bar Association, there are approximately 835,000 men that suffer from abuse from their partners every year. In comparison, even though more heterosexual women by numbers experience domestic violence, gay men experience domestic violence at levels just as high as they do.
So what causes a man to fall into a relationship where he is abused? Is it because he's soft or weak minded or is he just a coward and a "punk"? Because of gender roles, it may generally be easy to reason why women may fall into abusive relationships. According to Rob Stephenson in his article Forgotten Victims: Domestic Violence Among Gay Men, he offers that heterosexual relationships follows a patriarchy where the man is more dominate because economic and social advancement is structured to favor men over women, thus giving them positions of control. He reasons the same structures play a role in domestic violence in gay relationships. Instead of gender giving a perceived advantage of one partner over another, other economic differences such as education and resources may serve to give one partner an advantage over the other, thus giving more control in the relationship.
So how does one recognize that prince charming may morph into Satan incarnate? There are several signs that may signify that you are headed down a road of an abusive relationship. One sign is that your partner is constantly belittling you. I don't mean the occasional ribbing in playful fun. I'm talking about the outright embarrassing and often times humiliating insults that are meant to make you feel worthless.
Of course if your partner is laying hands on you, and not in a pleasurable way, then you know indeed you are in an abusive relationship. An occasional slap to the face or a punch in the eye is not ok and is not excusable by stress or any other pressures in your partner's life. A slap in the face one day may surely turn into your body being hurled out of a glass door or window the next.
If your partner is finding everything wrong with what you do and is constantly picking up a violin and playing the victim, especially when you try to asset yourself, then Houston you have a problem. A common tactic abusers use is the blame game. They will blame you for their situation, or for cursing you out, or for the rain falling on the wrong day of the week. Putting up with blame for their ill behavior may include blaming you for their fist crashing into your face or their foot slamming into your ribcage later.
Domestic abuse is a major problem facing the LGBT community. It is important that victims know they have a support group of friends, family, and community options to rely on when faced with the prospect of fleeing an abusive relationship. If there isn't a support group readily available in your area, try seeking the help of organizations that provide other services for the LGBT community. They may know of a network of individuals or organizations you can call upon. The important thing is to do something. Choose yourself and choose a quality of life that is far removed from the ravages of domestic abuse.
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse or domestic violence you can find resources and help at the
National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
A project of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Tel: 800-537-2238 ■ TTY: 800-553-2508 ■ Fax: 717-545-9456
6400 Flank Drive, Suite 1300
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17112
Male Media Mind