Lesbians/bisexual women told us that they often felt triply victimized: initially by their partners, by services/institutions that are supposed to be there to help and by the lack of positive response in their communities. Resources are scarce for women in same-sex relationships who have experienced abuse or who have been abusive. That type of behavior should never be tolerated and should be reported to the police. Domestic abuse is a serious issue among lesbians, gay men, bisexual, and transgender people. When the network started, partner abuse was not something that we wanted to talk about,” says katie atkins, its community programmes organiser. Provide services to all individuals affected by domestic abuse, regardless of sexual orientation. Furthermore, if it is true that lesbians fight back more, it could be so for several reasons: because self-defence courses are more widespread in the feminist/lesbian community; because fighting back could be a result of built-up rage from previous abuse or because same-sex partner might fight back more easily because their physical size tends to be closer.
Help & advice
It can be difficult to recognise the signs of abuse in a relationship, as people who are abusive are not always that way. Addressing violence in same-sex relationships means challenging our theories about gender-based violence as well as our stereotypes about women and about lesbians/bisexual women. Across town, the network la red – an organisation that began working with abused lesbians, but now includes gay, bisexual, and transgender communities – was experiencing the same problem.