A critical new study on Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse, or IPV/A (commonly referred to as domestic violence and abuse within the LGBTQ community), shines an even brighter light on this heinous and potentially life-threatening behavior.

    As a journalist, IPV/A is my signature issue.  As well, I conduct national seminars and workshops on this despicable behavior–which can eat away at your very soul.  And, IPV/A is the overarching theme of my new novel, “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart—RAGE!”

     This landmark study, conducted by Chicago’s Northwestern University (NU), concludes that IPV/A occurs at least as much—but possibly more—among same-sex couples as among opposite-sex couples.   According to the nydailynews.com, “The study team can’t say why domestic violence may be more common among same-sex couples, but they suggest it may result from the added stress of being a sexual minority.” 

     Richard Carroll, a psychologist at NU’s Feinberg School of Medicine and senior author of the study published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, stated, “’There are vulnerabilities that come with being in a homosexual relationship.  It can be as basic as someone not ready or willing to be open to their family or community that they’re in a homosexual relationship.  The theory is that additional stressors can add to increased strain that leads to increased violence or abuse’.”

     Because IPV/A tends to be heavily stigmatized, it is woefully underreported.  “According to Carroll, among the challenges that sometimes prevent researchers from collecting reliable data on domestic violence among same-sex couples is the partners’ reluctance to bring up the topic out of fear of being outed or blamed.  ‘It’s not as easy for same-sex couples to be open about these things in the first place’, he said.”    

    To formulate the new study, the researchers probed the databases of medical research on the prevalence of intimate partner violence and abuse among same-sex couples.  Based on the findings of four studies that had data on 30,000 participants, the researchers found that between one and three quarters of LGBTQ individuals are victims of IPV/A.  That is at least equal to the quarter of heterosexual women who are victims of domestic violence in their lifetimes.

     Carroll continued, “’In addition to the added stress of being a sexual minority, another contributor to increased risk of domestic violence among same-sex couples could be that same-sex partners are unconsciously acting out an internalized homophobia they developed while being raised in a heterosexual society’.”

     “’The good news is that I think the gay community has begun to address this over the past 10 years, Carroll said.  There are certainly more resources for couples experiencing violence’.” 

     If you or someone you know is experiencing IPV/A, call: the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233) or the Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project Hotline (1-800-832-1901).