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Letters: Survey says...

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Now that a study has been completed and published regarding domestic violence within the MSM community, I wonder to what extent this is going to have an effect on ... well,anything. Not to belittle the intentions of those who developed, executed and published the study ( well, maybe a little ) but we already know abuse exists. We know that our community is like every other community-good people, bad people, mean people, dumb and smart people. We are many things to many people-including ourselves. We know we need to take responsibility for our actions. We know we have to help the victim and the victimizer. We know we have to stop BEING the victim and the victimizer. The inference that abused MSM act out in ways that would lead them to unsafe sexual practices and substance abuse issues seems probable-but it also seems probably within the context of the 'healthy' MSM situations. This conundrum is nothing new. With seroconversion and substance abuse issues on our 'gaydar,' I should think our agencies have their hands full. ( Once they cut their ties with the liquor companies, they'll have even cleaner hands. )

Will this study provide grants to fund programs? Will this study make someone put a condom on, put down the poppers, meth, impact and whatever else is on that night stand ( or under the couch ) ? Will the study make the abuser feel the hurt of his/her crime and the abused the courage to take a stand for him/herself? Or are we just thumbing through someone's thesis?

In essence, we were told what we knew—only now from a statistical sans empirical yet percentile paradigm quantified, albeit parsimoniously. Of course, the report tells us how to remedy the crisis. Right? Yah. When studies like this become touted as a learned component of behavioral science, then I wonder what the real ramifications of such a study will produce. Can the statement be made that the heterosexual counter-situation is any different? Do woman in those circumstances immediately seek counseling, assistance and relief? Do men who suffer the abuse of their spouses bang down the door of the nearest support group? Yes. No. Maybe. For him, for her, for us, for them.

The problem of abuse is universal. It is ugly to straight people, and it is ugly to GLBT people. But did we need a study to tell us that we are the same as other people? Do we need a statistic to prove it? The lead author of the study ( Eric Houston ) states this will help healthcare providers recognize abuse. I smell more federally funded seminars with Ph.D.s in padded seats fighting off the effects of that post-lunch turkey sandwich. And how will this study counter the progress of same-sex marriages or same-sex adoptions?

Some of you may remember the story in the papers last winter about a young woman, a lesbian, sleeping on the streets in one of the coldest days of the year. Her girlfriend kicked her out of the house ( or so the story went ) and she was not allowed a bed in a shelter-after it was know she was a lesbian. Apparently, she did not know where to turn to for help. Maybe we should have a survey, study and a report ( along with a press release ) on why shelters do such things, what they should know about our community agencies or what we don't know about them or why the leaders in our community and agencies didn't get in anyone's face and maybe just a little angry.

And all you would need for that study is one person.

Greg Lindeman

Chicago, IL

NOTE: Letters may be edited for clarity, length or consistency.

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