Fringe sex groups more likely to be victimised: Study

Friday, February 25, 2011

WASHINGTON - Fringe sexual groups like gays, lesbians and bisexuals are more likely to be victimised, a new study says.

The correlation is prevalent among gays, lesbians and bisexuals, more so than in heterosexuals, says Tonda Hughes, professor of health systems science at the University of Illinois College of Nursing in Chicago, who led the study.

Researchers compared victimisation experiences of unwanted sexual activity, neglect, physical violence, and assault with a weapon, across four sexual-identity subgroups — heterosexual, gay or lesbian, bisexual, or “not sure”, the journal Addiction reports.

The study relied on national data from 34,635 adults from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, according to a university statement.

Lesbian and bisexual women were more than twice as likely as heterosexual women to report any victimisation over their lifetime.

Lesbians, gay men and bisexual women also reported a greater number of victimisation experiences than did heterosexuals. Three times as many lesbians as heterosexual women reported childhood sexual abuse.

“Gays and lesbians tend to be more self-reflective,” she said. “This means they are more likely to think about and report negative or stigmatising life experiences. Heterosexuals may not be inclined to do so.”

Gay men also had high rates of victimisation, with about half of them reporting this.

The research also concluded that gay, lesbian and bisexual youth may use substances to cope with adverse psychological and interpersonal effects of victimisation, she said.

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