Alex Blaze

Traditional domestic violence is between one man and one woman

Filed By Alex Blaze | May 18, 2009 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: dating violence, Democrats, domestic violence, Joan Brady, lesbian, LGBT, relationships, Republicans, south carolina

South Carolina's been working on a bill to educate teens about relationship violence, since the state ranks pretty high when it comes to men who kill women. They've been debating this over the past week, and the stickler has been whether gay relationships would be discussed in the program. Because heaven forbid gay teens learn how to avoid relationship violence.

The amendment to remove gay and lesbian relationships from the bill passed 75-25 and came with the usual right-wing rhetoric:

"I do not want the Department of Education or school districts teaching our children in grades six through 12 about same-sex relationships," said Rep. Greg Delleney, a Chester Republican who pushed to make the violence prevention program apply only to heterosexual relationships. "I'm sure it would develop into that."

But here's one of the bill's sponsors saying that it's all good to take out the gays, because it's not like that sort of violence happens:

Bill sponsor Rep. Joan Brady said excluding gay relationships is fine and declared that, "Traditional domestic violence occurs in a man-woman, boy-girl situation."

"The fact is, this is a gender-specific, abusive behavior. The overwhelming predominance of dating abuse occurs in a traditional or heterosexual relationship," said Brady, R-Columbia.

Get that? "Traditional domestic violence" is between one man and one woman.

Moreover, it's a pretty dumb thing to say. I'm sorry that reality doesn't comport with Rep. Brady's worldview, but domestic violence does occur in same-sex relationships. Maybe she thinks that it wouldn't happen in the sisterhood, but it does. Or maybe she thinks that men would be able to defend themselves from another man, but that's not always true.

That's what makes relationship violence so awful, people allow themselves to be open and intimate with another person who abuses that trust. But there's nothing particularly heterosexual about it.

However, a 2004 Journal of Adolescent Health study found that youths involved in same-sex dating are just as likely to experience dating violence as those in relationships with members of the opposite sex.

Brady later said she was comparing total numbers of violent relationships - of which there are more between partners of the opposite sex. She also said her information came from the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault. Group spokeswoman Rebecca Williams-Agee said while sheer numbers show most dating violence cases involve boys abusing girls, all groups need to be considered, especially gay teens who may already be facing issues with their sexual orientation in a conservative state.

"When it comes to advocating for people, you don't get to choose who to advocate for. No one deserves to be hurt or violated in any way," Williams-Agee said.

Well, yeah, raw numbers are going to show that there are more violent heterosexual relationships than there are gay ones. But that's because there are around 20 times more heterosexuals in this country, and I'm sure the relationship numbers follow.

The problem here is that SC queer teens are going to tune out of this program just like they do every other exclusively heterosexual program, thinking that it doesn't apply to them. Hell, a lot of them might even think that it can't happen in a same-sex relationship.

But it happens in same-sex couples, just like it happens in seemingly "perfect" families, just like it happens among rich people, just like it happens in Christian families, just like it happens in college professors' homes....

I've been around long enough to see relationship violence happen between two men more than a few times. Since a lot of people involved in those situations read this site, I'm not going to get into more detail about that, but suffice it to say it's enough for me to wonder how Rep. Brady arrived at her ridiculous conclusion.

Yes, I know she's another Republican trying to justify her vote to take the gays out, but she should have just stuck with the "No one will discuss homosexuality in front of teh childrenz!" argument. It's so banal at this point that people wouldn't have even noticed that she made it.

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state representative. a position even more pathetic than federal representative. "well i just vote my district, and my district is homophobic. what, you want me to listen to reason? no way, I have an election to win in a few years, and I plan to win that election by catering to my constituents' uninformed, religious and otherwise propaganda-fed bigotry, racism and blatant fear of anything different or unknown.'

I just hope this bill can be challenged in court.

I find far more malice in excluding gay couples from domestic violence protections than even denying them marriage.

Wow, a straight person who's totally clueless about GLBTI issues, well there’s a newsflash...

Seriously, of all the GLBTI people I’ve known over the years I agree that their relationships do mirror the national numbers for heterosexual relationships for abusive relationships or physical/sexual assaults among partners .

The needs are different for the different groups and the straight laced hetro crowd is totally clueless… again.

My only response to this story continues to be: South Carolina is a shithole.

Rick Elliott | May 19, 2009 3:05 AM

A little different tack--emotional abuse is just as harmful as physical abuse. Both emotionally scar.

Brad Bailey | May 19, 2009 6:16 AM

Most of the South is in the deathgrip of the religious right. For that reason, any advances in gay rights in states like South Carolina or Arkansas will only come about through Supreme Court decisions. "Gender-specific" relationships are the only kind of relationships these people understand. Their woeful ignorance is a direct result of the "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" mindset fostered and encouraged by the religious right.

And I hate to ask this, but isn't it the job of an elected representative vote the conscience of his or her constituency, even if that constituency is bigoted and misinformed?

What we have here is an excellent talking point against heterosexual relationships. We need to advertise this point that Domestic violence is due to man-woman, boy-girl relationships.

"Bill sponsor Rep. Joan Brady said excluding gay relationships is fine and declared that, "Traditional domestic violence occurs in a man-woman, boy-girl situation."

"The fact is, this is a gender-specific, abusive behavior. The overwhelming predominance of dating abuse occurs in a traditional or heterosexual relationship," said Brady, R-Columbia."

Just playing the Devil's advocate


Yeah, that makes sense. Especially since every now and that will pop up on some of the more extreme homophobes' websites and materials - domestic violence is more likely to occur in gay relationships than straight ones.

I'll be sure to tell them that they didn't get the memo from rep. brady. :)