A recent study conducted by the Glasgow Caledonian University has found that one in four men in same-sex relationships experiences intimate partner violence.
Trigger Warning: This story discusses domestic violence and rape, which might be distressing to some readers. For 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.
Called the “We are INVISIBLE!” Same-Sex Male Relationship Intimate Partner Violence study, the team listened to the victims as they shared the disturbing accounts of abuse, which included rape, physical violence and psychological abuse. And the perpetrators were romantic partners in casual and long-term relationships.
Since the study’s findings were published on the university’s website, academics are calling for more awareness on the subject and for improvements to support services to help victims and prevent future men from facing the same issue.
Keys findings from the research saw that Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) contributed to short and long-term mental illness such as anxiety, depression, PTSD and suicide among gay and bisexual men.
It was also found that the victims experienced coercive control with physical, emotional, financial and sexual abuse. Gaslighting and emotional manipulation to make them question their sanity was also in play.
Clear Barriers For Accessing Support
One of the researchers part of the study, Professor Frankis pointed out that there were “clear barriers for GBM (Gay and Bisexual Men) victims to accessing support services and they are simply not set up to cope with GBM issues around IPV.”
“The fact that one in four GBM have recently experienced IPV and that they as likely as heterosexual women to experience violence from their partners highlights how important this is,” he said.
Fellow researcher Dr Maxwell that this was an issue “that many are unaware of” within the LGBT+ community.
“Our research found that IPV has a detrimental impact on an individual’s health, both in the short and long term, and can cause mental ill health including anxiety, PTSD, depression and suicidality,” he said.
“We hope that this research will help bridge the knowledge gap, increase public awareness and lead to policy change at a national level.”
“It Never Stopped From That Point Then.”
One of the victims recounted his harrowing experience of rape, stating “The first time that he raped me, I mean, I just, I sat in the shower all night, just with the water running over me… that part I remember very vividly. The first rape happened a few months in. It never stopped from that point then.”
Another victim said that it “knocks confidence, it knocks your self-esteem, and self-worth.”
“The hatred for yourself. The hatred for allowing it. There’s a huge stigma around men coming out as domestic abuse victims, because we’re men, we should be able to deal with it and fight back,” he said.
One man said that law enforcement “do not take it seriously.”
“I think it was a complete lack of training. They didn’t know how to treat it because it was man-on-man. There’s just a complete lack of empathy or understanding from the police about same-sex relations,” he said.
Recommendations for improvement to policies and service provisions in order to support and understand IPV experienced by gay and bisexual men have been made to the Scottish Government.
If you or a loved one is experiencing IPV or domestic violence, please reach out to these helplines: