Domestic Violence Is a Serious Problem Research Proposal

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Domestic violence is a serious problem throughout the world. The problem effects people in all segments of society regardless of socio-economic status, race or sexual orientation. Many of the studies concerning domestic violence focus on hetero-sexual couples. However, domestic violence also effects homosexual couples. The review of the literature will review on trauma/same sex domestic abuse within the GLBT community. The literature review will focus on the definition of abuse as in the heterosexual and homosexual worlds. Statistics and the reasons why domestic violence occurs will also be a focus of the review. The research will also focus on the differences between the occurrence of domestic violence in straight and gay households. Finally the review will explore the use of art therapy in assisting those who have dealt with domestic violence.

Domestic Violence

According to the national institutes of health domestic violence is defined as "a type of abuse. It involves injuring someone, usually a spouse or partner, but it can also be a parent, child or other family member ("Domestic Violence"). " When this abuse occurs between married couples it is known as spousal abuse. When this violence occurs amongst those who are in a relationship but not married, it is referred to as partner abuse. In recent years it has also been referred to as Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) Because most states do not acknowledge gay marriage, for the purposes of this literature review such abuse will be referred to as partner abuse.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Research Proposal on Domestic Violence Is a Serious Problem Throughout Assignment

Although both heterosexual and homosexual couples experience domestic violence the psychology of the abuse is somewhat different because the partners are the same gender. For instance, according to McLennan (2005) the patriarchal theory of domestic violence is not applicable to same sex couples. The author explains that this theory asserts that domestic violence is a result of cultures domination of men over women. As such it cannot properly explain violence within the context of same sex relationships. Although the patriarchal theory is inadequate as it pertains to providing an explanation for somesic violence amongst same sex couples, there are other theories that do provide some explanation. The authors explain "Island and Letellier (1991) attributed partner abuse to perpetrators' personality disorders. Renzetti (1996) asserted the feminist theory, with its emphasis on sociopolitical oppression of at-risk populations, underlies same-gender IPV. Integrating the former two theories, Merrill (1996) proposed the social psychological theory attributing IPV between same-gender partners to oppression, learned behaviors, and individual choices (McClennen, 2005)." The author points out that the social-psychological theory can explains gay male IPV, it does little to explain the domestic violence that occurs amongst lesbian women. Instead the author insists that the patriarchal social-psychological theory is more appropriate in explaining the domestic violence that occurs between lesbians. The author explains that this theory is fitting because it is inclusive of the concept of patriarchy which effects all women regardless of their sexual orientation.

The author further insists that the theory of mutual battery is often place upon domestic violence situation involving same sex couples. However, McClennen, Summers, & Vaughan, (2002) found that this belief is inaccurate. Mutual battery is defined as "actions of self-defense against perpetrators' attacks is synonymous with voluntary acts of engaging in physical fights." That is both parties are enaged in the fighting in there is no clear perpetrator. However, in reality domestic violence between same sex partners often has a clear perpetrators. Perpetrators are characterized by their intent and the manner in which they react after abuse has taken place. The intention of the perpetrator is to instigate the violence and then blame the victim. Following an abusive episode the perpetrator also feels exhilarated after the abuse has occurred. On the other hand victims blame themselves and are usually drained after an incident of abuse has occurred. Although this is the case in both hetero-sexual and homosexual relationships, many do not see domestic violence in this light when it involves homosexuals. This idea that domestic violence amongst gays and lesbians is mutual battery has hindered victims from receiving the proper care. In addition perpetrators do not get the type of counselling that they require.

Some experts have suggested that just as with heterosexual couples, one of the reasons fro domestic violence amongst homosexual couples in power imbalance. The author explains that "Determining the composition of this imbalance is more challenging than with opposite-gender abuse where, historically, men have been imbued with power over women, and a differential in size results in women more often being harmed by the abuse (McClennen, 2005)." The author explains that in relationships involving lesbians power imbalance is associated with the lack of communication and social skills that the perpetrator possesses. In addition, this imbalance may occur as a result of cycles of family violence. That is some lesbians are violent towards their partners because there was violence in their homes as children. There are also occasions when imbalance occurs as a result of internalized homophobia, substance abuse, differences in status and even substance abuse (McClennen, Summers, & Daley, 2002). In addition to power imbalance other reasons for domestic violence include dependency and jealousy amongst lesbian couples (McClennen, Summers, & Daley, 2002).

The author further explains that for gay males power imbalance is more difficult to determine as it pertains to domestic violence. However the research has found that the primary reasons for domestic violence amongst gay men are jealousy dependency and sexual abuse. In addition, the research asserts that possessiveness and independence are also factors as it relates to domestic violence amongst gay men. There is also some evidence that "perpetrators' lack of communication and social skills as well as intergenerational transmission of violence and HIV as contributing to gay male IPV (McClennen, 2005)."

Overall there is still a great deal that is not known or understood as it pertains to same sex domestic violence. However it is apparent that domestic violence amongst same sex couples can be brought on for some of the same reasons that violence occurs amongst heterosexual couples. However there are often other elements that are involved when same sex couples are involved which are unique because of the attitude of society towards same sex couples.

This lack of understanding as it pertains to the reasons why domestic violence occurs amongst same sex partners greatly hampers efforts to deal with the problem. Because professionals are ignorant of some of the differences between treating the problem when same sex partners are dealing with domestic violence. It often goes unreported and people suffer in silence

Prevalence of Domestic Violence in the Gay and Lesbian Community

Although domestic violence occurs amongst same sex couples the actual prevalence of such violence is more difficult to determine, This difficulty exist because many who suffer from abuse are unwilling to report such abuse. Although these statistics are difficult to confirm,

"Findings from existing research reveal many similarities between samegender

and opposite-gender IPV. The prevalence rate of approximately 25% to 35% of all partners experiencing IPV is comparable (Gunther & Jennings, 1999), thus of the

19 million same-gender couples (Island&Letellier, 1991), about 5.7 million report

being either a victim or perpetrator of IPV. Also similar are the types of violence reported including sexual, physical, financial, and emotional abuse (Merrill & Wolfe, 2000; Renzetti, 1992). Common is the spiral of violence -- the violence increasing in frequency and severity over time (Tully, 1999). Despite the similarities, IPV between lesbian and gay male partners differs in its theoretical underpinnings and is fraught with myths (McClennen, 2005)."

Because gays and lesbians who are physically abused are less likely to report domestic violence than are heterosexuals, the prevalence of the problem is difficult to determine. However the aforementioned estimates can be made in regards to the prevalence of the problem in the homosexual community.

Support for Same sex couples

Like anyone who suffers through the abuse of domestic violence, same sex couples also need support. According to Toro-Alfonso and Rodriguez-Madera (2004) support for same sex couple in domestic violence situations is often lacking because of the prevalence of Homophobia. The authors explain that because homosexual relationships are viewed as existing outside of the norm, not much attention is paid to the problem of domestic violence within same sex relationships. As a result legal advocacy and other mechanisms that would draw attention to the problem. The authors also explains that the lack of attention given to the problem encourages the abuser because he/she is aware that there will be no consequences for their actions. The authors further explain that

"Social discrimination, stigmatization, denial within the community, and the lack of support and/or services to gay men who are victims of domestic violence all add to this sense of powerlessness and unworthiness (Merrill & Wolfe, 2000).

Furthermore, they run the risk of being doubly victimized by the service providers, who treat them with apathy and prejudice (Lehman, 2002). Both gay men and lesbians who are victims of domestic violence are often unable to find shelters that will admit them, which increases… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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