Intimate partner violence in the LGBTQ community

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Indiana Court Times on 03/27/2018 by Lisa Manning

Early this year, the founder of Miss Transgender America, Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, was found dead in her home after being stabbed and beaten to death by her husband. In an interview with police, Mark Steele-Knudslien said he “snapped” after arguing with his wife.

Intimate partner violence is as prevalent in the LGBTQ community as in heterosexual communities. 43% of lesbian women and 61% of bisexual women experienced rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner. 26% percent of gay men and 37% percent of bisexual men experienced rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner. Thirty to 50% of transgender women experience intimate partner violence or sexual assault during their lifetime. (“National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey,” 2013, CDC).

Popular understandings of what constitutes intimate partner violence and sexual assault may prevent victims from recognizing that incidents of abuse by their partners are, in fact, abusive and illegal.

Women who had experienced violence from a same-sex intimate partner sometimes did not initially consider these incidents to be domestic violence. Some women cited their belief that the violent acts women commit are not as serious or as dangerous as those perpetrated by men. Hassouneh et al. (2008).