1.2.1 Normalisation of violence

Consequently, a ‘normalisation of violence’ takes place within the lesbian community: Abuse and violence is viewed as a normal aspect of lesbian living. The boundary between ‘normal’ acceptable and abusive/violent behaviour is blurred. Lesbian victims feel unsure about experiencing abuse or violence and do not seek help; they do not know if their experience is “severe” enough to be named abuse or violence. Lesbian perpetrators presume that their violent behaviour is acceptable since no one is interfering. The circle of friends who are first persons of reference, may feel uneasy or insure what to do. But without any response the victim may get the impression that a violent situation is commonly accepted. This might reinforce her blaming herself for causing the abuse/violence. Even worse, since abusive and violent behaviour seems to be an accepted part of lesbian life, it is more difficult for victims to realise that they are in an abusive partnership: they may take it as “destiny” or even “deserved” for being a lesbian.
Domestic violence in lesbian partnerships cannot be analysed without taking into account the impact of discrimination/marginalisation on lesbian couples. Hence, looking at the effect on lesbian partnerships, domestic violence can be described as a continuation of discrimination. The risk of a “second victimisation” prevents victims and perpetrators from seeking adequate help. This again promotes normalisation as a collective and individual coping strategy.  

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European Commission and the German Federal Ministry of Family, Seniors, Women and Youth.

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