ONTD Political

TW DV, RAPE: Domestic violence, rape an issue for gays: Study

5:54 pm - 01/26/2013
Gay people in the United States are just as likely as heterosexuals to experience domestic violence, sexual violence or stalking, and bisexual women are more likely than other women to be abused, federal health experts said on Friday.

Until now, little had been known about how often violence occurred among gays and bisexuals in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said of its findings. The CDC said its report offered the first national data on the issue.

"We know that violence affects everyone, regardless of sexual orientation. This report suggests that lesbians, gay men and bisexuals in this country suffer a heavy toll of sexual violence and stalking committed by an intimate partner," CDC Director Tom Frieden said in a statement.

For example, domestic violence against a woman was reported by nearly 44 percent of lesbians and about 61 percent by bisexuals compared to 35 percent of heterosexuals. Among men, 26 percent of gays and about 37 percent of bisexuals reported partner violence compared to 29 percent of heterosexuals.

"Bisexual woman had significantly higher prevalence of virtually all types of sexual violence," the CDC said in its report.

Additionally, the CDC found the majority of women who experienced violence, regardless of their sexual orientation, faced male perpetrators.

It also looked at rape, and among female victims found that 48 percent of bisexual women and 28 percent of straight women experienced their first rape between the ages of 11 and 17 years.

The agency's findings come as Democrats push to renew the Violence Against Women Act, a bipartisan 1994 law that has been reauthorized several times but officially expired in 2011. The law aims to protect domestic violence victims by easing access to legal protection orders and preventing a victim's sexual history from being cited at trial, among other steps.

Democrats, who control the Senate, reintroduced the measure this week in both chambers of Congress. It has bipartisan support in the Senate, but it is unclear how the bill will progress in the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, said CDC's finding support the need for his version of the bill's reintroduction, which also includes strong protections for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

"A victim is a victim is a victim, and no victim of these crimes should be denied access to these crucial services," he said in a statement.

The CDC's study, which reviewed 2010 data from its National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey of more than 16,000 U.S. adults, is critical for prevention programs and policies in hopes of reducing such incidents, the agency said.

It also called for more research on the issue, and said it would work with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or LGBT, communities to bring more attention to the problem.

"This information is critical to informing prevention programs and policies aimed at reducing these types of victimization," it said.


edit: i probably should have included this initially but here is a link to the cdc study itself, in pdf form.
ebay313 27th-Jan-2013 12:43 am (UTC)
I'm curious what might cause the differences seen in the study.

I wonder too if they looked at all if people were "out" when the abuse occurred? Which I just think being a bisexual women, and a lot of that applies to me as a survivor and one who was raped when I was 16. But that was all before I was "out", and it doesn't really seem at all related to my sexuality to me (except in the way that my history of abuse made it harder to accept being bisexual, but not really relevant to this.)
kyra_neko_rei 27th-Jan-2013 02:43 am (UTC)
I'm wondering that too.

Four potential thoughts I've had:

1) Men who think lesbians "just need a good dick" targeting lesbians or perceived lesbians (including bisexual women) for sexual violence.

2) Men who expect bisexual women to be willing to put out for anyone with a pulse taking it as a personal insult when a bisexual woman isn't into them ("she's into men and women --> she's into everyone --> where the hell does she get off refusing me?" --> retaliatory rape, stalking, coercion, etc.

3) Bisexual women with experience with female/female (more likely to be egalitarian) relationships developing a lower threshold for calling sexual coercion rape---or rather, heterosexual women being statistically more prone to explain away male sexual entitlement as "boys will be boys, they just really want sex" and thus having a lower reporting rate for the same behavior. (Not to suggest that all men are like that or all lesbian relationships are perfect or all heterosexual women have low standards, but there's always a percentage of women who have been taught to accept pressure for sex as the price of having a man, and that teaching is less likely to survive a relationship (or several) where there is no one to play the "man.")

4) Lesbians being more likely to correctly identify rape due to being immune to manipulations by the rapist of "you wanted it/are attracted to me, and I knew it, and that makes it not rape," i.e. someone won't be tricked into confusing desire and consent when there's no desire to confuse with it. Also: lesbians being lesbians, any man wanting to rape them would have to be fairly blatant about it, because date rape and the sort of coercive "seduction" and coercion within relationships that many victims are hesitant to call rape tend to not work so well on targets who are immune to the lure due to incompatible orientation.

(The above works for male rapists---female rapists could use "coercive seduction" and relationship pressure against lesbians just as easily as male rapists do with straight women, but by all accounts there are fewer of them.)

So basically, the increase is likely to be part deliberately targeting lesbians and bisexuals as targets for misogyny and homophobia, and part more accurate reporting by lesbians and bisexuals due to decreased ability of rapists to trick and manipulate their lesbian and bisexual victims into not calling it rape.

If any of that makes any sense.

Edited at 2013-01-27 02:44 am (UTC)
redstar826 27th-Jan-2013 04:05 am (UTC)
although with point number 4, some women do date men before they come out/before the come to terms with the fact that they are a lesbian. I wouldn't say that we are immune to being manipulated by men, especially since reading this it sounds like a number of victims were raped when they were still in their teens.
kyra_neko_rei 27th-Jan-2013 04:38 am (UTC)
No, I suppose they wouldn't be. I was talking about out and/or identity-knowing lesbians at that point, and didn't think past that.

It now occurs to me that lesbians who haven't come to terms with their orientation might be even more at risk for that kind of rape, if they're dating men whom they don't desire because they think it's what they're supposed to do, or figuring they're just slow to feel desire or don't feel much desire or it will happen eventually.

Fuck it, I've been that girl, putting up with dates and kisses and touches from guys I was uninterested in on the basis of believing the attraction and enjoyment were supposed to start anytime now. I should've caught that; thanks for bringing it up.
redstar826 28th-Jan-2013 01:58 am (UTC)
looking back on it, I feel incredibly lucky that the guys I was with were all decent guys who never pressured me into anything I didn't want. Dating and sex and all that stuff was confusing as hell to me until I finally figured out at age 21 that it wasn't working because I was actually a lesbian
nonnycat 28th-Jan-2013 08:31 am (UTC)
I would add to that list:

5) Women who think it is no big deal to push, coerce, etc, bisexual women because "she's into girls" and "I'm a girl too so it's no big deal."

I have lost count of the number of ostensibly straight women who have groped me at clubs or such and then acted like it wasn't a big deal because we're both chicks. Or in a relationship, that because it was supposed to be more equal, that coercion/manipulation/pushiness didn't apply. (BTW this latter one comes up A LOT on some GBLT communities I follow, along with friends I know this has happened to, as well as my own experiences there with an ex-gf pushing me into things I didn't want to do.)

I don't, I should add, disagree with what you've already listed. It has just been my unfortunate experience that there is a good lot of it on the female/female side as well, and that rarely gets addressed.
girly123 28th-Jan-2013 08:24 pm (UTC)
Thank you thank you thank you.
thewhowhatwhats 27th-Jan-2013 01:07 am (UTC)
I wish they had studied rapes of gay and bisexual men too.
yeats 27th-Jan-2013 01:12 am (UTC)
it's in the report, but not in the article... here are the relevant stats:

The lifetime prevalence of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner was:
For women:
- Lesbian – 43.8%
- Bisexual – 61.1%
- Heterosexual – 35.0%

For men:
- Gay – 26.0%
- Bisexual – 37.3%
- Heterosexual – 29.0%
endlos_schleife 27th-Jan-2013 01:21 am (UTC)
It's kind of sad that none of this really surprises me right?
redstar826 27th-Jan-2013 01:51 am (UTC)
the CDC found the majority of women who experienced violence, regardless of their sexual orientation, faced male perpetrators.

I've become very wary of coming out to men unless I already know them quite well. I've never faced violence because I'm a lesbian, but the creepy shit I've heard from dudes is enough to make me feel pretty uneasy.
pamuya 27th-Jan-2013 03:10 am (UTC)
Same. I think the only men in my life that know I'm bisexual are my brother, father, and cousin.

Which also makes it hard to date men, period.
etherealtsuki 27th-Jan-2013 04:35 am (UTC)
I'm a closeted bisexual and I often thought if I could marry a guy and tell him that I'm bi AND not having used against me, especially I have to stay closeted with my family. It's a pretty frightening possibility to think about.
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