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Domestic Violence Common in Same Sex Couples

Sep 20, 2014 06:42 AM EDT

Domestic violence or intimate partner violence is more frequent among same-sex couples than heterogeneous pairs, researchers say.

Surveys have shown that about 25 to75 percent of lesbian, gay and bisexual people have been abused by their partners. This figure is slightly higher than the rate of abuse seen in heterogeneous couples.

The researchers say that social stigma prevents homosexual men and women from reporting partner crimes.

Domestic violence encompasses physical, sexual or psychological harm occurring between current and former intimate partners. Research on domestic violence began in 1970s. At that time, women - who have been abused by men in heterosexual relationships - were the main focus of the research. Recent studies have shown that people in homosexual relationships are as likely to be abused by their partners as those in heterosexual relationships.

"Evidence suggests that the minority stress model may explain these high prevalence rates," said senior author Richard Carroll, associate professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a psychologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. "Domestic violence is exacerbated because same-sex couples are dealing with the additional stress of being a sexual minority. This leads to reluctance to address domestic violence issues."

The Atlantic had carried an article last year that shed light on the plight of victims who have been abused by their homosexual partners.

Authors of the current review on domestic violence in LGBTQ community say that most research on the minority community has concentrate on lesbians than gays.

"Men may not want to see themselves as the victim, to present themselves as un-masculine and unable to defend themselves," Carroll said in a news release.

The study is published in the  Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy.

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