Victimization and Perpetration Rates of Violence in Gay and Lesbian Relationships: Gender Issues Explored

Reviewed by
Suzana Rose, Ph.D.

from an article of the same title by:
Lisa K. Waldner-Haugrud, Linda Vaden Gratch, & Brian Magruder

Violence and Victims,
1997, 12(2), 173-184

To explore gender differences in victimization and perpetration of violence in lesbian and gay intimate relationships.

Participants were recruited at lesbian and gay community events and through personal networks. Surveys were completed by 283 participants, including 118 lesbians and 165 gay men. Most participants were in college or college educated, white, and about 32 years old, on average.

Participants completed the Conflict Tactics Scale indicating: what tactics, if any, were used against them by a same-sex partner; what tactics, if any, participants had initiated against a same-sex partner.

About 47% of lesbians and 30% of gay men reported being the target of at least one conflict tactic in a same-sex relationship. About 38% of lesbians and 22% of gay men said they had initiated at least one conflict tactic against a lesbian or gay partner. Lesbians (30 to 38%) were more likely to push and be pushed by their partner than gay men (12 to 18%). Lesbians and gay men did not differ in prevalence of other tactics experienced or perpetrated. Pushing was used most often (12 to 38%), followed by threats (12 to 27%), slapping/ punching/striking with an object (13 to 26%), punching (9 to 15%) and using a weapon (none to 2%). The severity of the victimization did not differ for lesbians and gay men.

Meaning: Documentation of partner abuse in lesbian and gay relationships indicates that it was an important social problem. Possible gender differences in the causes of violence need to be explored further.

Reviewed by Suzanna Rose, Ph.D.
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