Domestic violence, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape
Domestic violence and abuse
- Domestic violence and abuse does exist between gay men
- Domestic violence cuts across all groups regardless of race, age, class, religion, lifestyles or disability
- Domestic violence is about control of one person by another
- Alcohol, drugs, stress, etc. are not an excuse for violence
- There is no provocation or justification for domestic violence – the batterer is responsible for their behaviour
If you keep going from one violent or abusive relationship to another then you should examine why, how, and when it happens. This should be a useful start when seeking further help, advice and, perhaps, counselling. Violence and abuse can happen in many different ways and settings. Violence is not always physical, but can also be emotional, mental, verbal and sexual.
Violence or abuse can be considered as an intrusion into your life that does not involve your consent or agreement. It is a very personal thing, and what one person feels is abusive another person might not. If it feels abusive to you, try and do something about it. If you feel unable to confront the abusive person – seek advice and help as a matter of urgency. You might be able to get someone to help or act on your behalf. If you are in an abusive relationship you may:
- Feel that you are to blame
- Make excuses for your partner’s behaviour, "he can’t help himself, it’s his work... his family... his debts... it’s me... it’s just the way he is..."
- Find yourself forever anticipating your partner’s next mood swing
- Feel trapped and believe there is no way out of the relationship
- Go on loving your partner even though you know what’s happening is wrong
- Feel confused, depressed, angry, alone, and frightened
- Do things to make you forget – drink more, smoke more, take drugs, harm yourself
- Feel that no one else will love you or take care of you
- Think it will stop soon
If you are on the receiving end of violence it is important to get out as soon as possible and get help. Do not feel guilty that this has happened to you and that, in some way, it’s your fault. It is also important that you do not feel embarrassed about your reactions after the event – you have been through a traumatic and stressful situation. You do not deserve to be on the receiving end of any form of violence or abuse. Abuse or violence only gets worse and can lead to permanent damage or death. If it wasn’t you, it would somebody else.
If you are being abusive or violent towards you partner – there is something you can do to stop. There are a number of groups and organisations that will work with you to help you understand why you are doing this and how to stop. They are there to help you… not to judge you.
What can you do?
- If violence is happening on a regular basis, find out what help is available to prevent this happening to you. It is also important to record what is happening in case it needs to be used as evidence
- Tell someone what is happening! Speak to a gay organisation/helpline, or tell someone you can trust
- Have someone you can call any time
- Go to a safe place, or plan ahead so that you can get to a safe place quickly if you are abused again or are scared
- Use a helpline or call an organisation for lesbians and gay men who are victims of violence or who can help in dealing with the police. You can call just for emotional support, for referrals to support groups or for practical help about possible police/legal remedies
- The police have specially-trained officers, some of whom are gay or lesbian themselves. When you phone police ask if a gay liaison officer is available
- In an emergency always call 999