Gay and Bisexual Male Domestic Violence Victimization: Challenges to Feminist Theory and Responses to Violence

By Letellier, Patrick | Violence and Victims, January 1, 1994 | Go to article overview

Gay and Bisexual Male Domestic Violence Victimization: Challenges to Feminist Theory and Responses to Violence


Letellier, Patrick, Violence and Victims


This article demonstrates how same-sex male battering challenges contemporary feminist domestic violence theory. The author shows current theory to be heterosexist and therefore insufficient to explain the phenomenon of battering among gay/bisexual men. Domestic violence theories that integrate a sociopolitical and a psychological analysis of battering are presented as more inclusive of same-sex domestic violence. Differences between battered gay/bisexual men and battered women are illustrated, focusing on how these men conceptualize and respond to violence against them. The author also examines the social context of homophobia in which same-sex battering occurs; the impact of AIDS on gay/bisexual men as it pertains to battering; the misconception of "mutual combat"; and the difficulty of seeking help. The article highlights the need for empirical research on same-sex male battering.

Through the influence of the feminist movement of the mid-1970s, domestic violence came to be understood primarily as a heterosexual, sociopolitical phenomenon with its basis in sexism, that is, gender (Schecter, 1982). As a result, the domestic violence movement historically has focused almost exclusively on the battering of heterosexual women. The feminist political view of the male-female dyad has been the basis of the movement's core philosophies, shaping everything from batterer treatment policies (Frank & Houghton, 1987; Sonkin & Durphy, 1989) to victimization theory (Browne, 1987; Dobash & Dobash, 1979; Martin, 1976; Schecter, 1982; Walker, 1979), to current domestic violence law (Sonkin, 1987). The feminist analysis of gender socialization and its role in domestic violence has been tremendously effective in illuminating the relationship between discrimination and violence against women in society at large and the at-home version of that "gender oppression": battering (Pharr, 1988).

Unfortunately, feminist theory, with its doctrine of male victimizers and female victims, has also contributed to the invisibility of gay and lesbian domestic violence because it precludes the possibility of such violence occurring. Indeed, the movement to stop domestic violence has been extremely reluctant to address and work to prevent same-sex battering (Lobel, 1986), in large part because of the fundamental challenge to domestic violence theory that gay and lesbian battering represents (Island & Letellier, 1991). The existence of female batterers and male victims defies the strict gender categorizations of victims and perpetrators that are central to a feminist analysis of domestic violence (Schneider, 1992). The dearth of knowledge about same-sex battering, particularly concerning gay and bisexual men, allows much of the current work in the field, both in theory and in practice, to remain heterosexist. Without a wider dissemination of information about same-sex domestic violence, there is little hope for a more inclusive approach to the topic of battering in general.

The purpose of this article is to demonstrate how gay and bisexual male battering (and, though not directly addressed, lesbian battering) challenges the current ideologies about victimization. While acknowledging the importance, and drawing on certain aspects, of the feminist analysis of gender socialization as it pertains to domestic violence, it will be shown that such an analysis is fundamentally heterosexist and is furthermore insufficient to explain the phenomenon of same-sex battering. This article begins with a brief examination of the current gender-based theory of domestic violence and an overview of more inclusive theories. These latter theories integrate an analysis of the sociopolitical perspective with an examination of the role that individual psychological factors play in the dynamics of domestic violence. The author then illustrates several ways in which battered gay and bisexual men differ from battered women and shows how current theory fails to account for male victimization. …

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

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 ...
Default project is now your active project.
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.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

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

Gay and Bisexual Male Domestic Violence Victimization: Challenges to Feminist Theory and Responses to Violence
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
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?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access 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

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.