Violence in romantic and intimate relationships between men

Physical, psychological, economic, verbal, and sexual violence in romantic and intimate relationships between men.

Hi Readers!

I wanted to share with you a training day I attended a few years ago run by REZO, a Quebec, Canada-based charity. They were running a project called VRAIH (which is a play on words VRAI, which means TRUE in french. Violence dans les Relations Amoureuses et Intimes entre Hommes)

Before we dive into the facts and study findings from VRAIH, here are 2 questions to test your knowledge:

1- True or False?

Violence in a romantic and intimate relationship between men doesn’t exist.

Answer: FALSE – In fact, there is more violence in a homosexual relationship than in a heterosexual relationship. It was found that this is the 3rd most prevalent problem after HIV and drug & alcohol consumption in the gay community. 

2- True or False?

Violence in intimate relationships is the same for homosexuals as it is for heterosexuals.

Answer: true & false – let me explain: 

The type of violence is the same; physical, psychological, economic, verbal, sexual, etc. But the way it manifests is different. For example, if two people, who identify as men in a romantic relationship, are in a fight it may be portrayed or interpreted as a fight between friends or roommates and not be escalated or handled in the same way as a fight between a couple by observers and sometimes even the police. 

Different forms of violence

The below are some of the ways the different forms of violence may manifest themselves:

  • Economic violence: the charity was explaining that it is often seen in a relationship where one man is older and wealthier than the other that money is used as a way of controlling the other person – this is also a form of domestic violence. 
  • Verbal: using homophobic words towards one another.
  • Psychological: 8 times out of 10, there are threats about ‘outing’ someone to friends and family.
  • Physical: different types of aggressive acts to ‘correct’ the way the other acts 
  • Internalized violence: the feeling of discomfort and self-disgust.
  • Sexual: sexual practices or touching that is not desired or wanted.

There is also another dimension to add; intersection.

This is where a person’s sexual orientation crosses with another element/aspect of their life: 

  • It can be sexual orientation and ethnicity; therefore add on racism
  • It can be sexual orientation and serological status; HIV and phobic acts against people living with HIV 
  • Sexual orientation and transition journey; transphobic. Unfortunately, there is a lot of sexual violence against trans* people.

I hope this information gives you the courage to speak to the police or call your local domestic violence charity if you see something that doesn’t seem right or if someone confides in you.

Human relationships may be complex, but violence has no part in them.

Be kind to one another,

Julia, Sexologist


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