External Barriers to Help-Seeking Encountered by Canadian Gay and Lesbian Victims of Intimate Partner Abuse: An Application of the Barriers Model

By St Pierre, Melissa; Senn, Charlene Y. | Violence and Victims, July 1, 2010 | Go to article overview

External Barriers to Help-Seeking Encountered by Canadian Gay and Lesbian Victims of Intimate Partner Abuse: An Application of the Barriers Model


St Pierre, Melissa, Senn, Charlene Y., Violence and Victims


While understanding of intimate partner abuse (IPA) in gay and lesbian relationships has increased within the past decade, there remain several gaps in the help-seeking research. In particular, research examining the external barriers to help-seeking encountered by gay and lesbian victims of IPA has been largely atheoretical. To address this gap, an application of The Barriers Model was undertaken. This mixed-methods study surveyed 280 gay, lesbian, and/or queer participants living in Canada. Findings revealed that victims encountered external barriers in the environment (i.e., Layer 1 of the model), such as lack of availability of gay and lesbian specific services. Results also suggested that barriers due to family/socialization/role expectations (i.e., Layer 2 of the model), such as concealment of sexual orientation, had an impact on help-seeking.

Keywords : accessibility of formal services ; availability of formal services ; outness ; gay and lesbian intimate partner abuse

It is now commonly accepted that intimate partner abuse (IPA) against heterosexual women is a serious social problem. Statistics Canada reports that over 38,000 incidents of spousal violence were reported to the police in 2006. The National Violence Against Women Survey in the United States ( Tjaden & Thoennes, 1998 ) indicates that 2.1 million women are victims of rape and/or physical assault every year. Estimates of IPA in gay and lesbian partnerships suggest that this is also a serious issue. Approximately 11% to 12% of gay men and lesbians experience physical abuse at the hands of their partners ( Rohrbaugh, 2006 ). Although the topic of same-sex partner abuse is no longer in its infancy, with seminal works dating back to the mid-eighties to early nineties (see Brand & Kidd, 1986 ; Island & Letellier, 1991 ; Lobel, 1986 ), additional empirical research founded in theory is needed.

Similar to the reports of battered heterosexual women, a range of negative psychological, social, and physical effects have been reported by victims of same-sex partner abuse ( Chesley, MacAulay, & Ristock, 1998 ; Heintz & Melendez, 2006 ; Renzetti, 1992 ). Much like battered heterosexual women, victims of same-sex partner abuse may seek a variety of formal and/or informal sources to start the process of leaving their abusive partners, or help deal with the consequences of IPA. However, seeking help is not always a simple task for victims. Battered heterosexual women encounter several barriers to seeking formal help, including: lack of response from service providers, minimization of their experiences of abuse, and lack of available IPA resources (e.g., Bent-Goodley, 2004 ; Fugate, Landis, Riordan, Naureckas, & Engel, 2005 ; Logan, Evans, Stevenson, & Jordan, 2005 ; Sorensen, 1996 ). Gay men and lesbians encounter many of the same barriers to help-seeking identified by heterosexual women ( Cruz, 2003 ; Renzetti, 1989 ; St. Pierre, 2008 ). But beyond these barriers, gay men and lesbians face additional challenges related to societal homophobia and heterosexism. Absent from the literature is the application of a theoretically based model for understanding the external barriers to help-seeking encountered by gay and lesbian victims of IPA.

Grigsby and Hartman (1997) introduced a conceptual framework to help therapists recognize the barriers to seeking formal help encountered by battered heterosexual women. The flexibility of this model and its ability to theorize about the experiences of other marginalized populations is promising ( Grigsby & Hartman, 1997 ). The primary tenet of Grigsby and Hartman's model is that help-seeking is impeded by mainly social and contextual factors rather than individual-level determinants. The Barriers Model describes four layers of barriers arranged in concentric circles from the broadest social and environmental influences to the most personal and individual: barriers in the environment (Layer 1); barriers due to family/socialization/role expectations (Layer 2); barriers from psychological consequences of violence (Layer 3); and barriers from childhood abuse and neglect issues (Layer 4).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

External Barriers to Help-Seeking Encountered by Canadian Gay and Lesbian Victims of Intimate Partner Abuse: An Application of the Barriers Model
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.