Invisible Victims: Domestic Violence In The Criminal Justice System

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Domestic Violence, or spousal abuse, is one of the most appalling crimes in the criminal justice system. Domestic violence involves the abuse of an intimate partner through means of physical, verbal, emotional, or sexual aggression. When most people think of domestic violence, the most frequent thought is the husband, or boyfriend, battering their defenseless female partner. What people fail to realize is that domestic violence does not happen strictly between heterosexual couples, same sex couples can become victims of battering as well. They can suffer much more than heterosexual victims. Even though heterosexual domestic violence is a heinous crime, same sex domestic violence needs to be given much more police attention and assistance for…show more content…
In typical cases, the most frequently used form of aggression is physical aggression, such as hitting or any kind of physical harm. Homosexual domestic violence does not happen as frequently as it would in a heterosexual case. In the article “Invisible Victims: Same Sex Intimate Partner Violence in the National Violence Against Women Survey”, Messinger (2011) developed an experiment, consisting of 14,182 participants, both heterosexual and homosexual, that were either abused by their partner, or were the abuser themselves. In this survey the participants were asked to fill out a survey that consisted of questions relating to four specific types of intimate violence; verbal, sexual, physical, and controlling. The results of the survey showed that the overwhelming majority of abusers and victims who were involved in verbal and controlling form of domestic violence were homosexual partners. These forms of control, although common in heterosexual battering cases, have much different technique in same sex cases. One example of controlling aggression includes threatening to exploit, or “out” their partner’s sexuality, if they are still in the closet. If the victim is still in the closet, and afraid to admit their sexuality to their family or the community, this becomes a powerful tool for the aggressor, because if the victim cannot reach out to their family, or friend, due to the fear of coming out, the victim would also never report their abuser to the police for the same reasons. The fear of an aggressor “outing” their victim varies between lesbian and gay couples (Messinger, 2011, p.2233). Lesbian victims are much more likely to call the police in a battering case than gay men. A possible theory for this occurrence would be that society has socially constructed the belief that it is much more acceptable for a women to come out as a homosexual than a man. To protect

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