Bisexual Women and Gay Men at Higher Risk for Intimate Partner Violence

Bisexual women and gay men face elevated risks of intimate partner violence, according to a new Williams Institute report published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence.
By: Diane Anderson-Minshall
October 04 2012 7:06 PM

Bisexual women and gay men face elevated risks of intimate partner violence, according to a new Williams Institute report published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

“As Congress considers reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act and we reflect on Domestic Violence Awareness Month, our report’s findings highlight that these issues also impact the LGBT community,” said Naomi G. Goldberg, MPP, who created the report along with Ilan H. Meyer, PhD, Senior Scholar for Public Policy at the Williams Institute.

Among the key findings: 

* Bisexual women had elevated risks of experiencing intimate partner violence compared with heterosexual women, lesbians and women who have sex with women over the course of the lives and in the past year. But, significantly, in 95% of intimate partner violence annual incidents reported by bisexual women, the perpetrator was a male intimate partner, indicating that the violence occurred outside a same-sex relationship.

* Gay men had elevated risk of experiencing intimate partner violence compared with heterosexual and bisexual men, as well as men who have sex with men but do not identify as gay or bisexual. Almost all (97%) of the annual incidents of intimate partner violence incidents occurring to male victims involved a male intimate partner.

* Binge drinking and a history of psychological distress predicted intimate partner violence, but these factors did not explain disparities between bisexual and heterosexual women or between gay and heterosexual men.

The researchers’ findings are based on a 2007-2008 sample of the California Health Interview Survey. The authors compared patterns of intimate partner violence among four groups: heterosexual men and women, bisexual men and women, gay men and lesbians, and men and women who have had sex with members of the same gender but are not identified as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. The study defined intimate partner violence as physical and verbal abuse, or threats of physical abuse, by a current or former wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, or someone else an individual has lived with or dated.

You can read the entire study, "Sexual Orientation Disparities in History of Intimate Partner Violence: Results From the California Health Interview Survey," here

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