The silent killer: Domestic Violence
Mention ‘domestic violence' and images of the stereotypical drunk husband raining down blows on his cowering wife instantly pop to mind. It doesn't help when the majority of articles published by newspapers and magazines focus solely on domestic violence between heterosexual couples.
The fact remains, that domestic violence does occur within some gay relationships. Low press coverage of such attacks makes it much harder for gay men to speak out about their abusive relationship.
Broken Rainbow, a UK based organisation offering help, support and advice to LGBT people in abusive relationships, found that 1 in 4 LGBT people experience domestic violence in one form or another.
Broken Rainbows website confirms the lethal nature of domestic violence, stating that “when we talk about domestic violence, we often think it means bruises and broken bones. But that's not all. It includes physical, psychological, sexual, verbal and financial abuse. It may include abuse because of sexuality or gender identity; racist, sexist and ageist abuse; abuse because of religion or belief; and disability.” Many partners in gay relationships feel judged and belittled as a consequence of the abuse they are experiencing.
Domestic violence can fall under many categories and covers a range of situations in which one of the partners harms the other. In order for the abuse to be classified as domestic violence, the partners must be in a relationship, gay or otherwise.
If you find yourself in an abusive relationship in which you feel threatened or harmed, it is imperative that you seek help as soon as possible. Organisations such as Broken Rainbow have a helpline (0845 2 60 44 60) where information and assistance can be provided. However, if you are in any kind of immediate danger, you must call the emergency services.
Here is a list of ideas to consider to get yourself to safety:
- Inform a close friend or family member about what is happening. Talking to someone about the issue will help. Perhaps you can agree on a code word to use over the phone when their help is needed and your safety is in jeopardy.
- Try to keep some money in a separate account in case you need to leave the house.
- If you think you are about to be attacked, try and get to a safe place. Keep a spare set of car keys in case you need to flee the house.
- Keep any abusive texts, letters or emails as evidence of the abusive relationship.