Myths Relevant to Gay Male Partner Abuse
By Kevin Kirkland (http://publications.gc.ca/collections/Collection/H72-21-191-2004E.pdf)
“Men do not need help.” A common belief within mainstream culture is that men cannot be victims, that men do not suffer, and that “big boys don’t cry.”
The ideal of masculinity has traditionally connoted independence, self-reliance, strength, power, dominance and emotional restraint. A gay man may attempt to assert his notion of what it means to be manly, while at the same time feeling inadequate and less than manly because of his sexual orientation. He may resist seeking therapy to address his victimization in an intimate relationship because it may seem equivalent to surrendering control to another.
Gay couples assume “male and female” roles. Some people assume that a battered gay man must be in the “female” role, that he must be the effeminate or weaker spouse. This perspective obscures the fact that abuse can occur in any relationship, without regard for one’s sex or sexual orientation. As well, the abusive partner is not necessarily the bigger or more masculine of the two.
The use of physical force does not necessarily have any relationship to relative size or strength. Moreover, many forms of abuse do not involve the use of physical force at all.
“Boys will be boys.” Society sanctions violence between men in many contexts. It may be assumed that a fistfight between two men is a fair fight. (“You’re a man. Hit him back!”) This is also a common reaction to disclosure of abuse between gay partners. “He was asking for it” or “He had it coming to him” are similarly inappropriate reactions. The notion, held by some, that men are violent by nature contributes to the perpetuation of male violence.
“Gay men are sexually aroused by violence.” “Isn’t it just sadomasochism?”
This is a common perception that is based on misconceptions about the nature of homosexuality. In reality, sadomasochism – which may be practiced by females as well as males, and heterosexuals as well as homosexuals – involves consent. Abuse does not.
“Leaving is easier for people who are not married.” Gay relationships (whether married or otherwise) are likely no easier to leave than any other conjugal relationship, as they are often established in love and supported by emotional commitment. Moreover, if the victim of an abusive relationship is alienated from his family and other social circles, the relationship may hold even greater importance in his life.