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Laura Dale & Associates, P.C.

Same-sex domestic violence: It's not as rare as you might think

When people think about domestic violence, they generally have the stereotypical image of a large, aggressive man bullying, threatening and outright abusing a much-smaller woman. But this stereotype doesn't really hold true when they're examined carefully -- and it doesn't begin to apply to same-sex relationships.

Studies indicate that people in same-sex relationships suffer intimate partner violence as often or more often than those in heterosexual couples. Yet, there's very little acknowledgment that domestic violence can be a factor in these relationships. Partially, that's because the research into those relationships is still limited -- in 2015, for example, studies on same-sex domestic violence represented just 3% of the total research on the subject.

It's also partially related to the fact that same-sex domestic violence is far less likely to be reported through official channels than heterosexual violence. A 2012 study indicates that less than 5% of LGBTQA domestic violence victims sought legal assistance through orders of protection. Exactly why victims of same-sex domestic violence are less likely to seek assistance isn't clear, but it may be connected to long-standing distrust in the community toward the court systems. The years of open discrimination against members of the LGBTQA community has left many touch-sensitive and disinclined to engage with authorities for fear of more mistreatment.

If you're in a same-sex relationship where your intimate partner is abusive, that can leave you feeling very much alone -- but you're not. The problem is definitely more widespread than most people realize.

Removing yourself from a relationship with a violent intimate partner is essential to your well-being. An experienced attorney can help you dissolve your legal ties and protect your interests.

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