– By Shubhani Syal
Abusive relationships have been talked about plenty, usually portraying women as victims of abuse, however, who will we portray as victims when there no women in the relationship? or no men to be labelled as attackers?
Homosexuality is an under talked about issue in this country in itself so abuse in a homosexual relationship is just unheard of.
Abuse can be a part of any relationship and perpetuated from either side. What is necessary to be recognised about abusive relationships is that it’s about assertion of power over your partner or projection of your own negativities.
The role of patriarchy or misogyny is that both of these concepts give men a perceived sense of power over women thus leading to a majority of abuse victims being women. However, matriarchy can cause just as much abuse as patriarchy; it’s just not as widespread.
Abuse is not about sexism or violence, it’s about power.
Abusive relationships are high in LGBTQ community, because it’s harder to recognise, (with the portrayal of a male attacker and female victim in popular culture) and if recognised harder to report. Since homosexuality is socially and legally not acceptable in India, reporting of abuse in a homosexual relationship also means admission of guilt.
Unlike heterosexuals, abuse in a homosexual relationship stems from a manner of helplessness. In heterosexual relationships, the victim generally reaches out to someone. A friend, a family member, anyone. But most victims in a homosexual relationship don’t talk to anyone. They feel alone, trapped.
The abusers draw their power from fear. They also are emboldened over the fact that the victims will not speak up. Because they’re scared to come of the closet, legal repercussions, societal judgements, because they think it’s not abuse or because they believe they deserve it.
In homosexual relationships, abuse is generally physical, sexual and mental. It is more likely to have experienced mental or sexual abuse than physical. Sexuality is often used as a means of control and power. Even if abuse is only physical, there is always a mental aspect with the complexities that our current legal and societal structure imposes on the LGBTQ communities.
Accurate statistical information for abusive relationships of the LGBTQ community is not available in our country, because well it’s not really easy to admit you’re homosexual in our society. Much less that you’re a male victim or abused at the hand of a female attacker.
Abuse in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships is quite similar, however the difference lays in the lack of recognition and approachability that homosexuals experience.
It is important to understand that if abuse is wrong in heterosexual relationships, it is equally wrong in homosexual relationships. And it needs to be spoken against. It needs to be recognised. It needs to be remedied.
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