Study says half of gay men have suffered partner abuse

A study in July’s American Journal of Men’s Health reports that nearly half of surveyed gay men in have suffered some form of emotional or physical abuse from their partner.

Studies of domestic abuse tend to focus on the abuse suffered by women in romantic partnerships. But new data shows that men, too, may the victim of such assault.

The researchers questioned 160 couples consisting of 320 men. Approximately 46 percent responded affirmatively to questions about intimate partner abuse occurring within the last year. For the purposes of the study, such abuse may be manifest as emotional abuse, controlling behavior, sexual violence, or physical violence.

Rob Stephenson, the study author, is director of the Center for Sexuality and Health Disparities at the University of Michigan.

He said that the rates were comparable to male-female pairings. “If you just looked at physical and sexual violence in male couples, it’s about 25 to 30 percent,” he said.

According to a WebMD story on the study, “domestic abuse in male couples might increase the risk of HIV infection because victims may have little or no control over condom use or when and how the couple has sex.”

Same-sex couples suffered from the same abuse triggers as opposite sex couples: namely, “money, unemployment and drug abuse,” and the Michigan study found “a strong association between internalized homophobia and abuse in male couples,” according to Stephenson.

Health care for same-sex couples also includes being aware of domestic abuse, commenters suggest.