Gender-Role Stereotypes and Perceptions of Heterosexual, Gay and Lesbian Domestic Violence

Abstract

Although domestic violence occurs in all types of relationships, non-prototypical cases (e.g., gay male, lesbian, female-against-male) are often overlooked. We replicated and extended previous research demonstrating that perceptions of heterosexual and same-sex domestic violence are generally consistent with gender-role stereotypes. Male and female undergraduates read one of four domestic abuse cases varying by victim and perpetrator sex and sexual orientation. Victim sex, ratherthan sexual orientation, was the most potent predictor of responses, although male-against-female violence was considered the most serious and deserving of active intervention. Domestic violence perpetrated by men or against women was judged more serious than violence perpetrated by women or against men. Perceptions that male perpetrators were more capable of injuring victims, and female victims were more likely to suffer serious injury were consistent with gender-role stereotypes.

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Correspondence to Sheila M. Seelau.

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Seelau, S.M., Seelau, E.P. Gender-Role Stereotypes and Perceptions of Heterosexual, Gay and Lesbian Domestic Violence. J Fam Viol 20, 363 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-005-7798-4

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Key Words

  • domestic violence
  • intimate partner violence
  • lesbian
  • gay men
  • attitudes