Homosexual Domestic Abuse More Prevalent – Is This a Hate Crime?
(Harrisburg) – Last November President Obama signed into law an expansion of the hate crimes law to include ‘sexual orientation and gender identity.’ Recent cases of same-sex domestic abuse again bring into question the validity of such an expansion as the major threat to those identifying as homosexual seems to be their own same-sex partner, noted the American Family Association of Pennsylvania (AFA of PA), a statewide traditional values group.
“Consistently FBI statistics have shown that it is more dangerous in this country to be African-American or Jewish than to identify as homosexual and be the victim of a hate crime. The AFA of PA opposed the passage of the law last year and actually opposes all hate crimes laws. But recent incidents of same-sex domestic violence show just how misguided the law is,” noted Diane Gramley, president of the AFA of PA.
Three high profile murders of lesbians by their lesbian partners have caught the attention of many in Massachusetts. Experts on lesbian domestic violence were shocked, but honestly not surprised by these incidents. Last November a report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs reported a 125% increase in domestic violence fatalities in lesbian and gay couples around the country during the prior year.
The violence is not limited to Massachusetts as Pennsylvania has witnessed its own same-sex domestic abuse recently. Incidences include the July case in Erie County where a lesbian sexually assaulted her girlfriend. Elaine Pierson was murdered by her former same-sex partner in 2007 in Perry County. Two Westmoreland County lesbians assaulted each other with a rope and knife as they traveled by car along Route 30.
Additionally, women are four times more likely to be victims of domestic violence in a lesbian household than in a married household. (Claire Renzetti, Violent Betrayal) Married women in traditional families experience the lowest rate of violence compared with women in other types of relationships (“Violence Between Intimates,” Bureau of Justice Statistics Selected Findings, November 1994, p. 2)
The incidence of domestic violence among homosexual men is nearly double that in the heterosexual population (D. Island and P. Letellier, Men Who Beat the Men Who Love Them: Battered Gay Men and Domestic Violence, New York: Haworth Press, 1991, p. 14).
Relationship violence was found to be a significant problem for homosexuals:
44% of the gay men reported having experienced violence in their relationships; 13% reported sexual violence and 83% reported emotional abuse. Levels of abuse ran even higher among lesbians: 55% reported physical violence in their relationships, 14% reported sexual abuse, and 84% reported emotional abuse. (Study of 499 ethnically diverse homosexual, bisexual, and transgendered teenagers and adults) (Susan C. Turrell “A Descriptive Analysis of Same-Sex Relationship Violence for a Diverse Sample” Journal of Family Violence. Vol. 13, Number ., 2000. Page(s) 281-293)
In 2008 Pennsylvania a total of 68 hate crimes were reported – 38 of those incidences were intimidation. Of the 1,241 reporting agencies in PA only 31 reported any hate crimes at all.
“Quite obviously the major threat to a homosexual comes from their own same-sex partner, will these incidences of same-sex domestic abuse be considered hate crimes? These individuals were targeted because of their ‘sexual orientation’ so why wouldn’t these incidences qualify as a hate crime?” Gramley questioned.
# # #