A new study from Rutgers University found a significant increase in the frequency of intimate partner violence (IPV) in same-sex relationships with a history of IPV following the recent pandemic and global shutdown.
The study entitled “Sociodemographic characteristics, depressive symptoms, and increased frequency of intimate partner violence among LGBTQ people in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic: A brief report” will appear in the April 2023 edition of the Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services but was published early online.
The study reported over one in eleven LGBTQ+ people in a same-sex relationship suffered from IPV, and 18 percent of those folks reported incidents of IPV increased following the pandemic and lockdown. Those living in the southern U.S. or associated with more severe symptoms of depression experienced IPV at a higher frequency. The study’s authors noted the lack of research on incidents of IPV in a same-sex relationship and said their current study highlighted a need in the LGBTQ+ community.
“To date, most programs on intimate partner violence focus on opposite sex and heterosexual couples,” Perry N. Halkitis, dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health and the study’s senior study, said in a statement. “However, same-sex couples are different in terms of partner dynamics, and thus interventions need to address these differences.”
The study used an anonymous online survey of 1,090 LGBTQ+ individuals. Of those surveyed, 98 said they were victims of IPV in their current relationship, and 18 percent of those individuals reported an increase in incidents of IPV after the start of the pandemic and lockdown.
According to other recent research, members of the LGBTQ+ community experience IPV at a similar or higher frequency than those in heterosexual relationships. One study found 61.1 percent of bisexual women, 43.8 percent of lesbian women, 37.3 percent of bisexual men, and 26 percent of homosexual men experienced IPV at least once over their life, compared to 35 percent of heterosexual women and 29 percent of heterosexual men. In cases of severe violence, the numbers were even higher for those in same-sex relationships: 49.3 percent of bisexual women, 29.4 percent of lesbian women, and 16.4 percent of homosexual men compared to 23.6 percent of heterosexual women and 13.9 percent of heterosexual men. The same study also found over 50 percent of gay men and almost 75 percent of lesbians said they suffered from psychological abuse from an intimate partner. Another study found bisexual folks and bisexual women in particular were the most likely to suffer from all forms of intimate partner abuse, followed by lesbians, heterosexual women, gay men, and heterosexual men.
“Intimate partner violence interventions need to address that LGBTQ people are not monolithic in terms of many factors, including environments in which they live,” Halkitas concluded. “Now more than ever given the attacks on LGBTQ people by politicians, the work we are doing at our research center CHIBPS is as important as ever,” Halkitis said.
The study’s other authors include Christopher B. Stults, Kristen D. Krause, Richard J. Martino, Marybec Griffin, Caleb E. LoSchiavo, Savannah G. Lynn, Stephan A. Brandt, David Tana, Nicolas Hornea, Gabin Lee and Jessie Wong.
If you are experiencing domestic violence you can reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) for help. You can also call 988 for the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.