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The Violence That Dares Not Speak Its Name

Posted on May 2 2010 6:00 pm
Ben-Peter Terpstra is an Australian satirist and polemicist. His works have been posted on numerous sites from The Daily Caller (Washington D.C.) to Quadrant Online (Sydney, Australia). He blogs at Positively Churchillian.
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I was shocked. So there I am sitting on my bed. “Sheila” is on the phone with scratch marks across her tear-stained face, pleading for help, as her partner “Debbie” abuses her. It’s a familiar pattern: objects are thrown, Shelia is pushed around, and verbally assaulted.  One day they’re holding hands and kissing at the zoo – but behind closed doors Debbie will snap and the sick dance begins again.

I use the word shocked because in “Justice” (Rescue Me – Season Two) millions of viewers were introduced to serious lesbian-on-lesbian violence. It wasn’t a politically-correct subject in 2006, and it isn’t today, but when we show problems, are we causing them, or revealing them?

Lesbian-on-lesbian violence is the violence that dares not speak its name. It’s the elephant in the closet. Indeed, one can grow up without ever reading about the subject thanks to America’s politicized media. And yet, a new University of California Los Angeles report states (April 28, 2010):

Nearly 4 million adults in California reported being a victim of physical or sexual violence at the hands of a spouse, companion or other intimate partner, according to a new policy brief from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

Of those victims, more than 1 million reported being forced to have sex by an intimate partner, the study found.

Although reported incidences of intimate partner violence, or IPV, are widespread, especially among women and certain ethnic groups, reported IPV was surprisingly high among lesbians, gays and bisexuals in California, who are almost twice as likely to experience violence as heterosexual adults, researchers said.

Specifically, 27.9 percent of all lesbian or gay adults reported experiencing IPV in their adult lives. The rate of reported IPV is even higher among bisexual adults, at 40.6 percent. In contrast, only 16.7 percent of heterosexual adults reported incidences of IPV.

“This is not a group commonly associated with violence,” said the study’s lead author, Elaine Zahnd, a sociologist and senior research scientist at the Public Health Institute, which partners with the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research in conducting the California Health Interview Survey. “These findings should cause us to reconsider our assumptions about the root causes of violence, even as we redouble our efforts to eradicate it.”

This isn’t the first report exposing the violence that dares not speak its name either.  In 1992, another warning study Violent Betrayal: Partner Abuse in Lesbian Relationships reported a range of abusive behaviors from lesbian-on-lesbian verbal threats to stabbings (even shootings in some cases) and exposed fighting and “a terrifying ingenuity in their selection of abusive tactics.”

Is battered Sheila, the representative victim, living next-door to you?


Ben-Peter Terpstra is an Australian satirist and cartoon lover. His works have been posted on numerous sites from American Thinker (California) to Quadrant Online (Sydney, Australia). For more information see, Pizza Trays and Beer Bottles.

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