Watching out for lesbian relationship abuse
We’ve already had a discussion about lesbian violence, and now we need talk about lesbian relationship abuse.
Lesbian violence is an unavoidable matter: a study reported that about 17 percent to 45 percent of lesbians have reported being victims of at least “one act of physical violence perpetrated by a lesbian partner.”
Likewise, psychological abuse was reported to happen at least one time by 24 percent to 90 percent of lesbians.
One aspect of this abuse is emotional with Shannon Weber of Teen Vogue pointing out the problems of trivializing the emotional drama that’s supposedly “normal” for women and lesbians.
Because of this, we don’t see that what could be “emotional drama” is actually relationship abuse.
“Dressing it up as ‘girl drama’ or ‘dyke drama’ magnifies the problem by masking the seriousness of the situation and turning emotional abuse into a normal part of how girls and women are supposed to relate to each other,” Weber said.
She added: “Emotional abuse is not always intentional. People may do many of the things on this list without necessarily trying to. But either way, it’s still emotional abuse and there is no excuse for it.”
Signs of lesbian relationship abuse
Weber listed the following signs of emotional drama that you need to watch out for as precursors of emotional abuse.
These range from trying to set boundaries to demeaning you in front of friends and family as a joke.
In terms of setting boundaries, Weber said: “You should be able to express disagreement and discuss problems without feeling like you’re going to be under emotional siege for doing so.”
Likewise, given that everyone in the LGBTQ community face the hard realities of sexual violence, heterosexism, racism, and more, especially queer girls and women, we can’t help but bring our trauma and past wounds into our relationships.
However, Weber pointed out that, “being a survivor of trauma does not preclude anyone from inflicting emotional, physical, or sexual violence against someone else.”
“Regardless of gender, emotional abuse is real abuse, not just ‘drama’ your girlfriend puts you through. Queer girls and women shouldn’t have to be subjected to terrible relationships. Because each of us deserves better,” she added.
Myths of lesbian relationship abuse
Robin J. Landwehr of Everyday Feminism pointed out that we shouldn’t think that this kind of violence only happens in heterosexual relationships as it also happens in lesbian relationships.
Because lesbians don’t have power in society, Robin said, this invisibility makes them vulnerable as well in their own same-sex relationships.
Because of this, pernicious myths about partner violence in lesbian relationships actually prevent women from getting help, she added.
These myths include:
1. Women having equal power in a relationship, so the violence must be mutual.
2. Sexual abuse doesn’t occur in lesbian relationships.
3. Lesbians and heterosexual women have the same challenges when leaving an abusive relationship.
4. The abuser is always ‘the butch.’
Robin noted that to stop the spread of these myths, everyone in the community should help out.
She further said: “You can make yourself a safe person for a survivor to open up to by speaking out with factual information, offering support when we can, and not making excuses for lesbians who are being abusive.”