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|CDC: Lesbian, gay domestic violence rates same or higher than heterosexuals|
|by Laura Douglas-Brown|
|January 25, 2013 11:13|
New data released by the CDC on Jan. 25 shows what LGBT domestic violence educators already know: intimate partner violence is as big a problem for our community as for heterosexuals, though it is often not taken as seriously by the media or mainstream advocacy groups.
“We know that violence affects everyone, regardless of sexual orientation. This report suggests that lesbians, gay men and bisexuals in this country suffer a heavy toll of sexual violence and stalking committed by an intimate partner.” said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden in a press release about the report. “While intervening and providing services are important, prevention is equally critical.”
Today's report marks the first time the CDC has released national data about intimate partner violence, sexual violence and stalking broken down by sexual orientation.
Bisexual women and bisexual men were both more likely to report sexual violence than gay or heterosexual women and men — with the numbers most stark among bisexual women, who also reported that most of their violence was at the hands of men.
Some 74.9 percent of bisexual women reported being victims of sexual violence, compared to 46.4 percent of lesbians and 43.3 percent of heterosexual women.
Some 47.4 percent of bisexual men reported being victims of sexual violence, compared to 40.2 percent of gay men and 20.8 percent of heterosexual men.
Other key findings, as stated by the CDC in the press release and in the full report:
• Lesbians and gay men reported IPV and SV over their lifetimes at levels equal to or higher than those of heterosexuals; with sexual orientation based on respondents’ identification at the time of the survey.
• Of the bisexual women who experienced IPV, approximately 90 percent reported having only male perpetrators, while two-thirds of lesbians reported having only female perpetrators of IPV.
• The majority of women who reported experiencing sexual violence, regardless of their sexual orientation, reported that they were victimized by male perpetrators. The most stark numbers were for rape, where 98.3 percent of bisexual women and 99.1 percent of lesbians reported their perpetrator was a man.
• Nearly half of female bisexual victims (48.2 percent) and more than one-quarter of female heterosexual victims (28.3 percent) experienced their first rape between the ages of 11 and 17 years.
The CDC plans to develop resources to raise awareness of such violence within the LGBT community, the report notes.
Here in Atlanta, the Health Initiative, which focuses on LGBT health, offers support groups for both victims and perpetrators of domestic violence.
United 4 Safety is a local collaborative of individuals and representatives of 16 LGBT groups, domestic violence and sexual assault groups dedicated to "working to end intimate partner violence within the LGBTQQI community."
United 4 Safety's helpline is 404-200-5957.
The CDC also recommends these resources:
Other services and resources:
Top photo: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (photo via cdc.gov)
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