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Do lesbian couples face unique domestic violence challenges?

Domestic violence has no preference when it comes to race, gender, financial status or sexual preference. The legalization of same-sex marriage brought numerous LGBT issues to light, including complications of divorce. There are also a few differences between same-sex and heterosexual couples when it comes to domestic violence. You are not alone if you are a woman married to another woman in Texas, and feel unsure where to turn if your partner is abusive.

Domestic violence is not an uncommon occurrence, unfortunately. According to the Medical University of South Carolina, between 17 and 45 percent of lesbians have reported being abused at least once by a romantic partner. Lesbian domestic violence follows many of the same patterns of heterosexual spousal abuse. An abusive partner can by physically, emotionally, sexually or financially abusive. Domestic violence is seen as often in lesbian relationships as it is in heterosexual unions. Your partner might have grown up witnessing abuse in her own household, or her treatment of you may stem from fear that you will leave the relationship.

When you begin to take steps to escape the abuse, your situation may start to differ from that of heterosexual victims. You might fear that authorities will treat you differently from straight couples or believe that you should be able to defend yourself against another woman. Your partner might use “heterosexist control” against you by threatening to out you to people who do not know your sexual preference. You might also be afraid that your spouse could make a false report of abuse against you and that both of you may be arrested for domestic violence.

These concerns illustrate why competent legal defense may be necessary when you are attempting to escape abuse by your same-sex partner. However, this information is not meant to replace the advice of a lawyer. 

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