Comments for Gays/Lesbians Seeking Abuse Info

Comments for Gays / Lesbians Seeking Abuse Info

Material posted here is intended for educational purposes only, and must not be considered a substitute for informed advice from your own health care provider.

Courtesy of Dr. Irene Matiatos   CopyrightŠ 1998-2001. The material on this website may be distributed freely for non-commercial or educational purposes provided that author credit is given. For commercial distribution, please contact the author at

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, April 16, 2001



B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, April 19, 2001


to dr. Irene and Brian and everyone,

thank you so much for this! it is wonderful. i would also add another piece. the same problem exists in poly and new age commnuities. Brian's paragraph:

****quote from 'open letter'**** But there is another factor at work in our community -- one that impacts the ability of gays and lesbians to perceive abuse personally, even when their own partners manifest such behaviors. And that is the tendency to think of gay relationships as the vanguard of all that is contemporary and progressive. That inasmuch as we have overcome cultural roadblocks in forming our relationships, then clearly we will remain untouched by the dysfunctions that crop up among more conventional (heterosexual) couples ****end quote****

works equally well when you substitute 'poly relationships' or 'new age communities' for 'gay relationships'. these people and communities also consider themselves on the leading edge of relating, get little or no support, so they think they are 'beyond' the mainstream or convention. in fact, that is a big part of their appeal in allowing more freedom to people to be who they are and to change 'the system'. i think the truth is a middle ground. yes, many things need to change in conventional society, but we are also still human, and we have the same problems as everyone else, no matter that we've changed some of the rules.

this was a big problem for me in my relationship. I've written to dr. Irene back in December 2000, so this may be familiar to her or others. my ex is the leader of a new age poly community. his ideals sound really great and give a lot of freedom to people who are trying to create healthy relationships outside the conventional stereotypes. but behind closed doors (and rarely in public), he is abusive and controlling. and because of what Brian noted in his paragraph, i got little to no support in the community for what i was going through. in fact, i was the same while i was there. i could not believe that i or anyone else was going through what might be called 'conventional' problems within such a leading edge community based on living the ideals of self-responsibility and freedom and healthy interaction and ongoing daily confrontation of personal issues. it just seemed impossible that that could be true.

but it was. and accepting that is when i began to get my life back. it was also INCREDIBLY painful to realize the dream of my very highest ideals that i thought i had finally begun to live in my day-to-day life was a lie. i believed i was at the top of the mountain, so i fell very very far. i'm still not back on my feet yet, though i would say i'm at least in a crouch. :) not standing up fully, but not flat on my back anymore, either.

i have looked for resources for abuse in poly or new age communities, but i haven't found anything yet. if anyone has any suggestions, please let me know. (email address at bottom)

and thank you Brian and dr. Irene. your work here is invaluable, and very needed. i point many people to this site whenever i can. thank you thank you thank you.

char (


B1: Submit
Date: Monday, May 07, 2001


Thank you Dr. Irene and thank you Brian. This is what I needed. I'm not alone. It feels very alone sometimes.

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, May 13, 2001


For reading material, I would recommend the following. I found the reviewer's assessment of the book and her own relationship just as insightful:

Naming the Violence: Speaking Out About Lesbian Battering Excerpts taken from book review by JULIA ANNE MURPHY

The issue of battering in lesbian relationships is a controversial one namely because the very existence of lesbian battering shatters the utopian belief that women are inherently non-violent. Up until recently, violence has generally been considered to be something that men inflict upon women and each other. Naming the Violence is bravely challenging this concept, proving that women (and feminists) are not immune to violence among ourselves, and that lesbian batterers must be held accountable for their violence as male batterers are expected to be.

Until recently, the entire issue of lesbian battering has been relatively unacknowledged. That this anthology is necessary is particularly evident by the discoveries made while it was being put together. Editor Kerry Lobel states shocking evidence of the extent of lesbian battering when describing that " for every contribution that was actually submitted [over eighty], there were four phone calls or letters of inquiry from lesbians seeking support services..."

Lesbian utopia: a dangerous myth

The contributors to Naming the Violence explore the issues relating to lesbian battering consistently and extensively, emphasizing their importance as well as the ways in which the lesbian and feminist communities can become involved. One of the most important issues addressed is challenging the myth of the " lesbian/feminist utopia ". This concept is pervasive throughout the lesbian and feminist communities. I personally subscribed to the faith in women above all else to create a society blissful, creative, and non-violent -- to be accomplished largely without the negative influence of patriarchal or " male " influence. The underlying belief is that women are inherently non-violent, that it is men who perpetuate violence and consequently keep society from evolving into a healthier, nurturing state.

Yet I must also admit that, in large part, this belief kept me from seeing what was happening in the abusive relationship I was in. I refused to believe that I could be a " battered woman " like some of my sisters in abusive heterosexual relationships. Similarly, Naming the Violence lists examples of situations where battered lesbians have been stigmatized or unbelieved as a direct result of the influence of this myth

Naming lesbian violence for what it is seems to be a taboo among us, the great breakers of taboo. Turning to the straight world for help -- and thus admitting that lesbians batter lesbians -- is high treason. Lesbian battering threatens to shatter our fondest theories about women, lesbians, ourselves. It shakes the fragile foundations of our communities. (p. 162) But, as the contributors to Naming the Violence so heartily agree, the belief in this myth dangerously undermines the validity of the battered lesbian's experiences and helps silence her as well as disregarding any physical danger from her batterer she might still be in.

End of Excerpts from Review

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, December 04, 2002


B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, May 22, 2003


i have a girlfriend who i been liveing with for about 8 months and she is going out with females from her job to bars at 1 in the morning, should I be jealous or should i go out with lesbians i know locally to see what im missing, i mean if its good for her maybe im missing out on my better half

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, August 01, 2003


I have been fortunate in finding help with support on the web. Not as fortunate in the flesh. As Brian has pointed out there are a couple of extra blocks you run into when you are "family". Other good sites: Vicki