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versión On-line ISSN 1668-7027


GOMEZ OJEDA, Fabiola et al. Intimate partner violence in chilean gay men and lesbian women: An exploratory study. Interdisciplinaria [online]. 2017, vol.34, n.1, pp.57-72. ISSN 1668-7027.

The recognition of same-sex relationships has increased, but same-sex intimate partner violence has been less studied. Historically, this problem had been studied in heterosexual relationships, women being victims and men main aggressors. This heteronormative approach to intimate partner violence (IPV) often neglects same-sex relationships (Finneran, Chard, Sineath, Sullivan, & Stephenson, 2012; Russell, 2015). For this study, IPV is defined as every act causing psychological, physical or sexual damage, within the context of intimate relationships (Harvey et al., 2007) perceived as such. To our knowledge, there are no studies about IPV in same-sex relationships in Chile. Data about this topic is scarce in the Latin American context (Ferreira et al., 2015). Therefore, it is necessary to provide contextualized knowledge about IPV in same-sex relationships to face this psychosocial problem. The aim of this study was to describe IPV in same-sex relationships in gay men and lesbian women and its sociodemographic characteristics. In addition, results are compared to detect possible differences between groups. LGBT populations are considered a difficult-to-reach or hidden population (Paz-Bailey et al., 2013). For this reason, a snowball sampling procedure was used. The sample consists of 467 participants who identify themselves as gay men (57.4%) or lesbian women (42.6%), aging from 18 to 67 years (M = 27.9; SD = 7.9). The sample was recruited in four Chilean cities (Antofagasta, Valparaíso, Santiago, and Concepción). A specially designed questionnaire was administered to collect data for this study. Results were obtained through descriptive and comparative analyses with a Chi-square Test. Analyses indicate that 80 subjects (17.2%) had experienced some form of IPV (psychological, physical, or sexual); 87.7% of them reported psychological violence; and about half of them (47.5%) physical violence. Likewise, 19.3% respondents reported that there had been an IPV perpetrator. For group analysis, 20.1% of lesbian women and 19.3% of gay men reported some IPV experience. Statistically significant differences between gay men and lesbian women respondents were detected for psychology violence perpetrated [x2(1) = 6.37, p = .01, w = .64]. Gay men reported a higher percentage perpetrating psychological violence in their relationship (87.5%), as compared to the group of lesbian women (65.8%). Also, a statistically significant relation was found between IPV experiences and educational levels [x2(3) = 10.53, p = .01, w = .51]. Subjects with higher educational levels report less IPV frequency. Finally, a statistically significant relation was found between IPV victims and IPV perpetrators. This study represents the first approach to describe and characterize IPV in gay men and lesbian women, thus creating a baseline for making comparisons with future findings on LGBT issues in Chile and Latin America. Results support evidence concerning greater prevalence of psychological violence in both gay men and lesbian women, as compared to other types of violence such as physical and sexual (Barrett & St. Pierre, 2013; Finneran y Stephenson, 2013; Hellemans et al., 2015; Messinger, 2011). In addition, this resultis similar to those of previous studies on general population (Russell, 2015). An important result is IPV mutuality in the sample, namely, IPV occurs in two directions: persons experiencing partner violence concurrently perpetrate violence against their partners. Findings support the view that, in general, violence in same-sex relationships takes place gradually from relation al dynamics marked by violence (Barrientos, Rodríguez-Caballería, Escartín & Longares, in press). In this context, although data from this study are exploratory-descriptive, they make up a good approach to the problem since they include gay men and lesbian women from different Chilean areas of varied sociodemographic characteristics. If similar findings are reported in other studies, they could help direct psychosocial interventions, public policies, and future research. In any case, results must be carefully considered since they are non-representative samples and, in theory, not comparable with each other. Limitations and implications for future IPV research in same-sex relationships are discussed.

Palabras clave : Intimate partner violence; Same-sex relationship; Lesbian; Gay men; Victimization.

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