How do we approach violence within homosexual couples?

parelles homosexuals fons negre

One of the historical struggles of the feminist movement has been denouncing violence against women, accounting for the socio-cultural system which promotes and reproduces inequalities between men and women. Moving male violence from the private and invisible field to the public sphere, as a social and common problem that we must confront as a whole, has been one of its victories.

This struggle has been accompanied by far-reaching theoretical production in the search for an explanatory framework to account for the gear that maintains and reproduces inequality and violence: the patriarchal social structure. Also, the theoretical and academic discussion has been incorporated in the various declarations and policy frameworks at international, national and regional level, with consequent changes in the terms and explanatory frameworks. We note terms such as "violence against women", which appears in the declaration proclaimed by the United Nations Assembly in 1993; the term "domestic violence", included in the Spanish legislation in 2003, to make way for the term "gender violence" a year later in the Organic Law 1/2004, and the term "male violence" (violencia machista) collected in the Catalan legislation through the Law 5/2008.

The package, regulatory and legal frameworks that have been deployed in recent years are an example of the strong momentum that have taken public policies in the fight against this kind of violence. Similarly, the creation of services and resources aimed at addressing such situations -from prevention to care and recovery of those women affected by this problem- account for the institutional will to find an answer.

However, the strong association of male violence to patriarchy could leave out of the focus other types of violence, which would call into question the basis of this premise. We refer to the violence exercised in the field of homosexual couples, whether they are both women or men, both cis or trans . What explanatory framework can help us understand the violence within sex-affective relationships, especially when they are not exercised by "the man" or against "the woman"? The theoretical debate on this axis offers diffuse answers to this problem, which appears as an emerging need to be more visible.

Can we assume that patriarchy runs through power relations beyond sex-gender system, impregnating the whole society on hierarchical codes under the supremacy of the androcentric model of the white man? Or would it be better to reject the explanation that violence is only an expression of patriarchy, to understand it as a phenomenon that emerges within sex-affective relationships without distinction of gender, in which a drift occurs towards relations of domination and violence?

Beyond patriarchy, the heteronormative family model formulated under the idea of ​​romantic love can open other conceptual doors. Building relationships where possession, exclusivity and jealousy have a place, as synonyms for love, also involves mechanisms of coercion of freedom of each one. In this sense, the heteronormative-couple-and-romantic-love model can transcend the gender axis to fit into a relational dynamics. And homophobia can have an impact while increasing the vulnerability of those people affected by this problem, as a double victimization.

The fact is that the lack of a theoretical framework hinders the articulation of public resources and the ability to respond appropriately. Different LGTB groups are claiming for the visibility of this problem, which now finds itself with no support on a legal and institutional level, and are bringing forth the concept of "intra-gender violence" as a new starting point to define these situations.