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Nearly half of men in same-sex relationships suffer from domestic abuse

The study found a strong link between internalised homophobia and abuse in male couples

By Steve Brown

Nearly half of men in same-sex couples have suffered some form of domestic abuse, a new study reported.

The study – published in the American Journal of Men’s Health – found that 46 per cent of the 320 men interviewed reported some form of intimate partner abuse in the last 12 months and included physical and sexual violence, emotional abuse and controlling behaviour.

Rob Stephenson, author of the study, said: “If you just looked at physical and sexual violence in male couples, it’s about 25 to 30 per cent, roughly the same as women.

“We’re stuck in this mental representation of domestic violence as a female victim and a male perpetrator, and while that is very important, there are other forms of domestic violence in all types of relationships.”

Stephenson went on to explain that domestic abuse in male couples could increase the risk of HIV infection because the victims have little or no control over condom use or when and how the couple has sex.

The study also found a strong association between internalised homophobia and abuse in male couples and Stephenson said the stress of struggling with their sexual identity could cause them to inflict physical or emotional abuse on their partner.

Stephenson urged health care providers to start asking same-sex couples about domestic abuse.