Societal stress worsens domestic violence in same-sex couples

  • IANS, New York
  • Updated: Sep 21, 2014 14:21 IST

The additional stress of being a sexual minority has exacerbated domestic violence episodes among same-sex couples compared with opposite-sex couples, new research says.

Same-sex couples may not report domestic violence for fear of discrimination.

"They also may worry about their sexual orientation being revealed before they are comfortable with it," said senior study author Richard Carroll, an associate professor in psychiatry and behavioural sciences at the Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.

"Domestic violence is exacerbated because same-sex couples are dealing with extra stress. This leads to reluctance to address domestic violence issues," Carroll added.

The research that has examined same-sex domestic violence, has a greater concentration of lesbian cases rather than gay men and bisexuals.

"Men may not want to see themselves as the victim, to present themselves as un-masculine and unable to defend themselves," Carroll noted.

According to researchers, healthcare providers should be educated about the presence of this problem and also keep it in mind while assessing homosexual relationships just as they would for heterosexual patients.

"The hope is that with increasingly deeper acceptance, the stress and stigma will disappear for these individuals so they can get the help they need," Carroll maintained.

Previous studies indicate that domestic violence affects 25-75 % of lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals.

The review was published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy.

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