"Many times I'm asked about domestic violence in Lesbian and Gay relationships.People are stunned to hear, "yes way".. ..it does happen and more than we know.
I think the most common misconception is that it's not really domestic violence but it's just a "brawl" between two men or a "cat fight" between two women ...but I'm here to assure you that it does happen - it is all about power and control just as in male vs. female abuse.
However, along with fear of retribution, many in the LGBT community are afraid to report abuse for reasons beyond what may exist in the straight community. One real obstacle is they may face discrimination in a legal system which can be oppressive and even hostile towards those who identify as anything other than "straight." Calling the police may not be an option for fear of not being believed that they are being abused by their partner, or because the officer might not take them seriously. In the case of a male couple, it's often suggested that the abused party should "be a man and fight back" and therefore the abuse is his own fault.
Many fear being "outed" to their family or friends. If one is not ready to reveal their sexual orientation or the nature of their relationship...this can keep one quiet about their abusive relationship, thus continuing the cycle of violence.
So what to do if we hear a friend or family member is being abused in their relationship:
1. Understand the abuse is very real and take their relationship seriously...you might be the only one they can trust.
2. Contact your local Gay and Lesbian Center for further resources. We have one in Los Angeles, http://www.lagaycenter.org/ which has an anti domestic violence program.
3. Educate yourself on the dynamics of domestic violence and the Gay and Lesbian community.