US study reveals prevalence of gay domestic abuse

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It may not be called spousal abuse because gay marriage is still not considered legal in most US states, but according to a new study in the Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of The New York Academy of Medicine, gay men experience partner abuse at almost the same rate as women in heterosexual relationships.

It’s a little documented area of abuse, but this new study, which looks at victims of intimate partner violence, found that 32 percent of gay and bisexual men have been abused by their partners.

Eric Houston of the Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago conducted research about the rate of domestic violence in the gay community and released his findings in a report entitled Intimate Partner Abuse among Gay and Bisexual Men: Risk Correlates and Health Outcomes.

The study looked at not only the rate of abuse, but also examined the effects that such abuse had on the victims suggesting that “men in abusive relationships were more likely to report suffering from serious health problems such as heart disease, hypertension, depression, and anxiety.”

The Resource Centre of Dallas’ Family Violence Programme, which caters to the gay community in Dallas, reported that they averaged two calls a day about domestic abuse between gay partners and felt that there was a lack of available recourses to help recognise and diffuse situations.

The study also showed that “abused men were also more likely to report frequent use of substances before or during sex as well as having unprotected sex, leading to a higher risk of spreading or contracting HIV/AIDS and other STDs.”

It was also suggested that victims of gay domestic abuse were much less likely to report incidents because of the stigma associated with male-on-male violence leading them to turn to alternative and often unhealthy ways of coping with the problems.

With crystal meth use and sexually transmitted disease rates on the rise, it is important to address these issues as possible reasons for unsafe practices in order to help mitigate underlying causes.

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