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There are many misconceptions and myths about lesbian domestic violence.  Some of them seek to minimize same-sex battering.

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1. Abuse/battering that occurs in lesbian battering is mutual.

Mutual abuse in contrast to battering, holds that both people in the battering relationship are equally responsible.  Often this belief is maintained by the heterosexual community.  The fact is that mutual battering in lesbian relationships is rare. A consensus fight is not going on.  Many victims fight back in an attempt to defend themselves.

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2.  Lesbian and gay domestic violence is a sexual behavior, a form of S&M.

This myth potrays people that not only like, but also agree to, the violent behavior.  Domestic violence is NOT a sexual behavior.  It is abuse, manipulation, and control that is unwanted by the victim.

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3. Domestic violence primarily occurs among lesbians who hang out at bars, are poor, or are people of color.

The truth is that domestic violence is a NON-discriminatory phenomenon; violent and abusive offenders come from all walks of life, all ethnic groups, and all educational levels.

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4.  People assume that the butch in the relationship tends to be the abuser.

In the lesbian community, a woman  who tends to be on the masculine side is commonly referred to as "butch,"  while a woman who tends to fill the more traditional female role is referred to as "femme."  This sexism and stereotype often defers victims from coming forward to ask for help.

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5.  People consistently place responsibility for violence and abuse on the perpetrator.

In reality, many people blame the victim of domestic violence for the crime without realizing it.  They expect the victim to stop the violence and leave that situation, not understanding their reasons for not leaving.

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Copyright 2000 Berks Women In Crisis
Last modified: May 31, 2000