Anne Garner and Robbin S.Ogle
In everyday speech, and even in most social science discourse, domestic violence, according to Ferraro (2000), is about men beating women. Historically, women have fallen victim to battery at the hands of husbands and boyfriends who desire to control and subordinate their partners in intimate relationships through the use of violence. This cultural narrowing of the violence spectrum has failed to address violence in same-sex relationships.
Throughout history, the crime of intimate battery has been shrouded in secrecy and deemed a private matter (Muraskin 2000). Only in recent decades has said phenomenon been characterized as a social problem, with both social and legal institutions emphasizing a hands-off approach to domestic violence. In the contemporary arena, according to Coleman (1990), the battered women’s movement and domestic violence theory has concentrated on heterosexual battering and the perpetration of violence by men. Women perpetrating violence against their partners challenges traditional gender-based, socio-political theory on domestic violence.
In this chapter, violence in gay and lesbian partnerships is addressed and examined in the context of Ogle and Jacobs’ (1998) theoretical perspective. Definitions of such battery types are proffered, in addition to prevalence rates, myths regarding the occurrence of domestic violence in lesbian and gay partnerships, and a summary of current research examining the topic.