Domestic Violence Awareness at The University of Michigan
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Same-Sex Abuse

Abuse in same-sex relationships appears to occur with the same frequency as domestic violence in heterosexual relationships, and for the same reasons. The dynamics of domestic violence are similar in both LGBT and heterosexual relationships. According to Barbara Hart in Naming the Violence, "Battered lesbians describe the patterns of violence as terrorism and control. The same elements of hierarchy of power, ownership, entitlement and control exist in lesbian family relationships. Largely this is true because lesbians have also learned that violence works in achieving partner compliance."

The Gay Men's Domestic Violence Project reports that one tactic abusers use is to "try to convince their partners that their abusive behavior is 'normal' or 'normal for a gay (G), bisexual (B) or transgender (T) relationship.' This tactic is especially effective with people who are inexperienced in GBT relationships. Abuse is not normal in any relationship, including GBT relationships. Abuse has no part in a healthy relationship."

The differences surrounding abuse in gay or lesbian and straight relationships have to do with social context. For instance, one threat used by batterers that is unique to same sex abuse is the threat to publicly disclose the partner's sexual identity.

In addition to the services they provide directly (24-hour Crisis line: 734-995-5444), the Safehouse Center website provides many resources in southeast Michigan as well as some national organizations dedicated to serving LGBT survivors.

The U-M Spectrum Center at 734-763-4186 serves University of Michigan LGBT students through student-centered education, outreach, advocacy, and support.

The University of Michigan Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center is a resource for University of Michigan students, staff and faculty at 734-998-9368 (business line) or 734-936-3333 (confidential 24-hour crisis line).

The Gay Men's Domestic Violence Project provides information for and about men in relationships with men, regardless of their sexual identity, for survivors, friends and family, service providers, students and educators, and abusers. They offer a hotline at 1-800-832-1901. Lesbian Life provides information on domestic violence in lesbian relationships., An Abuse, Rape and Domestic Violence Aid and Resource Collection, has extensive information on domestic violence in general, in gay and lesbian relationships and on male victims in either gay or straight relationships.