Mutual Combat



Stages of Healthy Gay Relationships

Intro To Domestic Violence

Introduction to Gay Male Domestic Violence

Treatment Of Domestic Violence

Treatment Of Domestic Violence

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Intro to Gay Male Domestic Violence
Mutual Combat

Domestic Violence in Gay Couples

The questions most people ask with regard to mutual combat relate to who is considered "the batterer" and who is considered "the victim"? While this is a complex issue, it actually can be managed with some brief interviewing and basic observation. Marrujo and Kreger (1996) offer that interviewing should include:
  • how fights start and how often they occur,
  • who sustains the more serious injuries,
  • who has motives stemming from revenge, jealousy, or control,
  • who feels the least responsibility for the violence,
  • who has anger-control problems outside the home

This basic information can make clear the roles the partners in the relationship play. Marrujo and Kreger (1996) and Fox (1999) offer a number of points from their research of battering in gay and lesbian relationships:

Batterers Mutual Combatants Victims
High Jealousy and Control Some Jealousy and Selective Control Little Jealousy or Control
High Intrusion into Partner Activities Selective Intrusion into Partner Activities Little Intrusion if any into Partner Activities
High Anger and Rage, and Anger Problems Outside the Home Minor Problems with Anger and Anger Outside the Home Anger Turned Inward (Depression) and No Problems with Anger Outside the Home
Feelings of Entitlement Some Entitlement No Entitlement
Feelings of Blamelessness and Adequacy Accepts Some Responsibility but not All Responsibility Accepts All Responsibility and Feels Inadequate
Clarity on the Details of the Fight, and Claims of Victimization Some Clarity Mostly Confusion on How Matters Escalated, Unsure about Victimization
More Likely to "Cross The Line" First and Initiate the Fight May or May not Initiate Unlikely to Initiate, Violent only in Self-Defense

Fox (1999) cautions that you should "tone down" the powerful language like "domestic violence" and "abusive relationships," and instead ask about experiences of being hit, kicked, punched.... feelings of fear and anxiety... and keep checking on these questions and their answers regularly. Assessing for violence and the roles each partner plays may also entail assessing any risk of harm to children in the home (which may entail a mandated report to authorities), the presence of a weapon in the home (Holtzworth-Munroe et al, 1995) and the presence of a substance abuse or impulse control disorder that requires individual treatment.