Doing Violence to Domestic Violence Statistics

Jim Burroway

August 29th, 2006

Focus on the Family released another whopper today. Alan Chambers, president of the “ex-gay” group Exodus, claimed that gays and lesbians are far more likely to be raped or assaulted by their partners than heterosexuals:

“It’s something that we knew would come to light more as the issue of gay unions began to be on the radar screen of the American public.”

In fact, according to the National Violence against Women Survey, 39- percent of homosexuals report being raped, physically assaulted or stalked by their partners. Chambers says many gays grew up in a home where they were abused and that transfers into their relationships later in life.

Well, it’s true, sort of. Thirty-nine percent of women with a history of same-sex partnership report being raped, assaulted, or stalked by their partners. For men with a history of same-sex partnership, the figure is “only” 23%. For couples with a history of opposite-sex partnership, the figures are 21.7% for women, and 7.4% for men.

But the real question is who is doing the raping, assaulting, and stalking?

Getting to that answer is simple. But before I begin, I’d like for you to download the report for yourself directly from the government website so you don’t have to take my word for it. Go right ahead (PDF: 62 pages/1,475 KB).

Now, go to page 29 and look at Exhibit 8 at the bottom of the page. You will see that these figures I mentioned are all right there. It doesn’t look good for our side, does it?

But like I said, the real question is who is doing the raping, assaulting and stalking? For that answer, all you have to do is go to the very next page. In exhibit 9, you will see that —

Among women with a history of same-sex partnership:

  • 30.4% were raped, assaulted or stalked by their husband/male partner
  • 11.4% were raped, assaulted or stalked by their wife/female partner.

And among men with a history of same-sex partnership:

  • 10.8% were raped, assaulted, or stalked by their wife/female partner.
  • 15.4% were raped, assaulted, or stalked by their husband/male partner.

So here is what it all means. Many women with a history of same-sex partnership also have a history of opposite-sex partnership. Because of that, they are far more likely to report being raped, assaulted or stalked because it is the men in their lives who are doing the raping, assaulting or stalking. Not the women. Same-sex cohabiting women were nearly three times more likely to report being victimized by a male partner than a female partner.

And here is where the statistic gets really interesting: 20.5% of women in opposite sex relationships were raped, assaulted or stalked by their husband or male partner. That compares to 15.4% of men who were raped, assaulted, or stalked by their male partners. In other words, gay men are safer around their same-sex partners than straight women are around their husbands or opposite-sex partner.

But Alan Chambers blindly clings to his off-kilter interpretation and offers this gem of an explanation:

Chambers blames the violence on an extreme sense of unhappiness that often leads to addictive behaviors.

If that’s the case, then it looks like the straight men need to get over their unhappiness so the rest of us can live in peace.

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