Lesbian Abuse

Alex Karydi's picture

Lesbian Domestic Violence

I remember waking many a nights to my nanny’s (in South Africa it was custom to have a live in maid) screams, her room opposite mine wasmseparated by a small yard.  I witness in the darkness her husband beating her with sticks as thick as a baseball bat. She would be crying, bleeding and bruised, while police officers escort him out. My mother and father gently holding her, cleaning her face and would take her back to her bed where a week later he would be sleeping next to her again. The cycle continuously going, yes I was taught young what a good beating looked like, it was stained in my minds eye like her blood on our cement ground.

Abuse is a pattern of behavior that uses coercion, dominance or isolates the other partner.  It is a form of power that is enforced by one person over the other to gain control within the relationship. There are many kinds of abuse, unfortunately the most often common ones used go unnoticed as they do not leave physical evidence behind.

These are:

  • Physical Abuse – hitting; choking; slapping; burning; shoving; using a weapon; physically restraining; intentional interference with basic needs (e.g. food, medicine, sleep)
  • Isolation: Restricting Freedom – controlling contacts with friends and family, access to information and participation in groups or organizations; locking up in a room / restricting mobility; monitoring telephone calls
  • Psychological & Emotional Abuse – constantly criticizing, ridiculing (self, family, friends, past); trying to humiliate or degrade; lying; undermining self-esteem; misleading someone about the norms and values of the gay/lesbian communities in order to control or exploit them
  • Stalking / Harassing Behavior – following; turning up at workplace or house; parking outside; repeated phone calls or mail to victim and/or family, friends, colleagues
  • Threats & Intimidation – threatening to harm partner, self or others (children, family, friends, pets); threatening to make reports to authorities that jeopardize child custody, immigration or legal status; threatening to disclose HIV status, threatening to reveal sexual orientation to family, friends, neighbors, and/or employers
  • Economic Abuse – controlling or stealing money; fostering dependency; making financial decisions without asking or telling partner
  • Sexual Abuse/Harassment – forcing sex or specific acts, pressuring into unwanted sexual behavior, criticizing performance
  • Property Destruction – destroying mementos, breaking furniture or windows, throwing or smashing objects, trashing clothes or other possessions.

(Source: http://www.musc.edu/vawprevention/lesbianrx/factsheet.shtml)

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