Domestic Violence in Lesbian Relationships: Statistics, Myths & Facts
The typical image of a battered woman is a heterosexual woman attempting to hide a black eye in the grocery store. But domestic violence does not just happen to straight couples. Domestic violence statistics show that violence is just as prevalent in gay and lesbian relationships as it is in heterosexual couples. In fact, 30% of couples struggle with domestic violence of some sort.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is physical, emotional or sexual violence used by one partner to control another. Domestic violence is about power and control. One partner uses intimidation and control tactics to gain power in the relationship.
The Cycle of Abuse
At the start of the relationship, things are wonderful. The abusive partner may be doing nice things and treating her partner like the queen of the world.
Tension Building Stage: Gradually tension begins to build in the relationship. There may be minor incidents, such as yelling or throwing things. The victim, aware of what is coming, may try to prolong this period by staying out of the way or placating her. This stage can go on for a while.
Battering Stage: Finally the tension breaks and an act of violence occurs. Many people think violent couples live constantly in this stage. The victim may try to hide signs of abuse, may lie about it, or may seek help from the police, friends or domestic violence services.
Honeymoon Stage: The relationship moves back to the honeymoon stage. The abuser is remorseful and promises to never be violent again. The victim gets a lot of attention and affection from the abuser. The abuser may shower her partner with gifts. The victim sometimes feels that the act of violence was a one-time thing and decide to forgive her partner.