Statistics reveal that anyone can be a victim of intimate partner abuse.
Domestic Violence Month this past October mostly focused on women in heterosexual relationships—including my piece. That focus can inadvertently minimize other victims of partner abuse that need compassion and support as well.
Men and members of the LGBTQ+ community are seriously impacted by intimate partner abuse. These two groups share similar concerns that their complaints or injuries won’t be taken seriously, often causing them not to seek the help they need.
Intimate Partner Abuse
Intimate partner abuse (IPA) is all about power and control in a relationship. One partner slowly and insidiously uses coercive tactics to achieve dominance over their partner. These tactics can include emotional and verbal abuse, psychological aggression, physical violence and threats of sexual assault, financial coercion, and isolation.
Whether same-sex or opposite-sex relationships, males and females can become perpetrators or become victims. As a victim, men suffer the same injurious impact of being the target of abuse as do women. Common harmful reactions include fear, shame and humiliation, self-blame, self-doubt, lower self-esteem, anxiety, PTSD, and generally a loss of agency or control over their lives.
The following statistics give us some information but do not provide a completely accurate picture, since both groups have high rates of unreported abuse cases.
Men and IPA Statistics
Men are abused in opposite-sex and same-sex relationships more frequently than we know. Just like female victims, men can be at risk irrespective of ethnicity, socioeconomic circumstances, religion, education, age, or marital status.
LGBTQ+ and IPA Statistics
It’s only in recent years that much-needed attention has been given to intimate partner abuse in the LGBTQ+ community. Two important studies revealed that IPA is an important and prevalent problem.
In 2013, the Center for Disease Control reissued an updated version of the 2010 National Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Violence Survey that included for the first time an analysis addressing victimization by sexual orientation. The findings are for lifetime prevalence of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner:
- 43.8% of lesbian women and 61.1% of bisexual women have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime, as opposed to 35% of heterosexual women. (The study did not include gender identity or expression).
- 26% of gay men and 37.3% of bisexual men have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime, in comparison to 29% of heterosexual men.
- One study shows that 30-50% of all transgender people experienced intimate partner violence in their lifetimes.