Los Angeles — It may not be called spousal abuse because gay marriage is still not considered legal in most states, but according to an Oct. 18 study in The Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of The New York Academy of Medicine, gay men experience partner abuse at almost the same rate as women in heterosexual relationships.
It’s a little documented area of abuse, but this new study, which looks at victims of intimate partner violence, found that 32 percent of gay and bisexual men have been abused by their partners.
Eric Houston of the Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago conducted research about the rate of domestic violence in the gay community and released his findings in a report entitled, “Intimate Partner Abuse among Gay and Bisexual Men: Risk Correlates and Health Outcomes.”
Houston based his study on a survey taken from 817 men in the Chicago area who have sex with men. Respondents included blacks (51.3 percent), whites (22.4 percent), Latinos (16.3 percent), Asian/Pacific Islanders and other ethnic groups (10 percent) who participated by filling out a 15-minute, anonymous, seven-page survey.
More than half of the respondents who were victims of intimate partner abuse reported experiencing more than one type of abuse (including verbal, physical and sexual). Rates of abuse did not significantly vary by ethnic group or among men who lacked or had a primary partner.
The study looked at not only the rate of abuse, but also examined the affects that such abuse had on the victims suggesting that “men in abusive relationships were more likely to report suffering from serious health problems such as heart disease, hypertension, depression and anxiety.”
The study also showed that “abused men were also more likely to report frequent use of substances before or during sex as well as having unprotected sex, leading to a higher risk of spreading or contracting HIV/AIDS and other STDs.”
The study also suggested that victims of gay domestic abuse were much less likely to report incidents because of the stigma associated with male on male violence, leading them to turn to alternative and often unhealthy ways of coping with the problems.
With crystal meth use and sexually transmitted disease rates on the rise, it is important to address these issues as possible reasons for unsafe practices in order to help mitigate underlying causes.