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Do Lesbian Households Really Have No Child Abuse?

Do Lesbian Households Really Have No Child Abuse?

Multiple reports have come out in the last year that have contradicted the conservative perception that somehow being raised in a same sex couple household “damages” children.  But a new one, being promoted by Huffington Post, is perhaps the most absolute of all.

There are no cases of child abuse in lesbian households, according to a new study.  That’s right, none.

Via Huffington Post:

The Williams Institute, a research center on sexual orientation law and public policy at UCLA School of Law, has announced new findings from the U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS), the longest-running study ever conducted on American lesbian families (now in its 24th year). In an article published today in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, the 17-year-old daughters and sons of lesbian mothers were asked about sexual abuse, sexual orientation, and sexual behavior.

The paper found that none of the 78 NLLFS adolescents reports having ever been physically or sexually abused by a parent or other caregiver. This contrasts with 26 percent of American adolescents who report parent or caregiver physical abuse and 8.3 percent who report sexual abuse.

According to the authors, “the absence of child abuse in lesbian mother families is particularly noteworthy, because victimization of children is pervasive and its consequences can be devastating. To the extent that our findings are replicated by other researchers, these reports from adolescents with lesbian mothers have implications for healthcare professionals, policymakers, social service agencies, and child protection experts who seek family models in which violence does not occur.”

For those who are study junkies, some caveats come to mind when it comes to these numbers (the study is the first pdf on the page).   First off, the study is by no means random — mothers opt in at birth, and again when the children were 17, and then the children opted in as well.  The sample is quite small — only 78 children from 77 families (one set of twins is involved), and that was the amount of families who continued to participate — the study originally started with 84 families.

The study also relies on the fact that these children would be willing to report abuse, which, with many if not all of them still living in the households, could throw a little shadow of doubt in there as well, although they were told their responses were completely confidential.  One female participant did state an incident of verbal abuse from a step-mother, but that was the only negative event reported.

The idea that any study could have a zero result makes it a little difficult still to fully believe the methodology, but the results do at least confirm what others have also stated — there are no special dangers or risk factors that come from growing up with two parents of the same sex.

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11:27AM PDT on Jun 13, 2012

Lesbian couple report an abuse rate equal to or higher than heterosexual couples between partners.
There is a demonstrated correlation between domestic violence and child abuse.
Therefore these findings are indeed suspicious and I would be leery of touting the zero abuse of lesbians as something to be studied as a model.

8:12PM PST on Feb 4, 2012

While not specifically addressing child abuse, people may still be interested in "She Stole My Voice: A Documentary About Lesbian Rape" It breaks the silence about this awful reality.

2:27PM PST on Nov 10, 2011

part 3 - continuation of part 2 below
@Neil D
“The only result from the study shows that things go better without the men”
@Ria T
“testosterone makes a difference and violence is one of them.”
I’ll respond by quoting, out of context, (sorry)
Neville G
‘it is simply uninformed prejudice, justified by phrases such as "it's obvious"’

Do lesbian’s abuse?
Google “lesbian DV” and read. Feel free to ignore ALL religious and “hate” groups. Let me see. I’ll save you some of the trouble.
Here is a couple of links I found in about 50 seconds;
“Perhaps surprisingly, statistics have shown that lesbian people experience domestic violence at a very similar rate to that of heterosexual women (Waldner-Haygrud, 1997; AVP, 1992). It has been estimated that between 17-45% of lesbians have been the victim of at least one act of violence perpetrated by a female partner (Burke et al, 1999; Lie et al, 1991), and that 30% of lesbians have reported sexual assault / rape by another woman (Renzetti, 1992). Considering the lack of discussion that takes place regarding lesbian domestic violence and sexual assault, I find these figures staggering.”
“Present research indicates that the prevalence of domestic violence in same-sex partnerships is as high as in opposite-sex partnerships. Approximately one in four to one in five same-sex partnersh

2:21PM PST on Nov 10, 2011

PART 2 = continuation of previous post. (cropped)


OK, let’s look at the body who undertook the study, The Williams Institute. Who are they? Who funds them?
From their mission statement page (emphasis added) accessed 10 Nov. 2011

“Mr. Williams’ inaugural donation of $2.5 million to create the Williams Institute was the largest donation ever given to any academic institution in support of a gay and lesbian academic program in any discipline. Over the past decade, he has given over $13 million to fund the Institute”

Don’t you smell bias? To paraphrase you, shouldn’t we …
“ ignore all the biased”…LGBT… “nonsense … which are not scientifically based.”
Should we just ignore this piece of trashy nonsense. No, because the findings are a dangerous lie. Denial of abuse empowers the abuser. Abusive women are empowered by the feminist state. The children in their care are ignored – sacrificed to the feminist (or in this case lesbian) cause.
The denial lesbian DV leaves lesbians exposed – like male victims of DV.
Some of the other stuff on this thread is simple man bashing nonsense.
@Helle H
“This result doesn't prove anything, but in all the cases about childabuse I've ever heard of there's always a male involved.”
@Neil D
“The only result from the study shows that things go better without the men”
@Ria T

2:00PM PST on Nov 10, 2011

OMG, the misandry and misinformation in this thread is unbelievable. The seventies feminazis really did a number on you all. I was born in the sixties. I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s apologising for being a man.
It’s only in the last 10 years that I have disabused myself of the EXTREMLY BIASED portrayal of male and females in relationships.
This said I am in no way seeking to excuse or minimise the vile and deplorable behaviour of the subhuman Neanderthal man that beats his wife or molests his children.

First things first:
@Rob and Jay B

….Search the web for 'gay parenting studies', for one, (& ignore all the biased religious nonsense & hate groups which are not scientifically based). There are studies of gay male parents too, & they relate the same results

Yes let’s ignore biased studies and non scientific studies by biased groups.
How about this very report.
Let’s see.
Self selecting.
Self reporting.
Small sample.
Self interested group.
Not peer reviewed.
Findings at odds with other bigger related reports (see later in this post.)
Conclusion: Non-scientific.

OK, let’s look at the body who undertook the study, The Williams Institute. Who are they? Who funds them?
From their mission statement page (emphasis added) accessed 10 Nov. 2011

“Mr. Williams’ inaugural donation of $2.5 million to create the Williams Institute was the largest don

6:03AM PST on Jan 7, 2011

I don't believe the study was comprehensive enough nor where enough details released for anyone to be able to make a definite opinion on the issue.

In November 2010 Stephen Scott, the Research Director of the National Academy for Parenting Practitioners, (the UK government's advisory body) said that children with lesbians as parents do better than the children of conventional parents. He was drawing on research conducting by Birkbeck College (London University) and Clark University in Massachusetts, and he stated that his own research showed children from lesbian couples do better in life than those of heterosexual couples.

8:09PM PST on Nov 26, 2010

All comments respectfully noted

8:10AM PST on Nov 20, 2010

Hmmmm this is for Chloe M. I guess you just sat there watching this all happen to the child and did like everyone else, NOTHING! As adults, parents or whatever it's OUR duty to protect that child. Whether it was to say something to that parent or to use your cell phone to alert the Police of their actions with the child. You are and everyone else that did nothing for that child are @ fault. We have to be their voice, they don't have one! So shame on you and anyone else who stood by & did NOTHING!

2:15PM PST on Nov 19, 2010

I know that there are probably excellent same sex parents out there, but times when I've been on the bus, I've seen some things that make me go "hmmm..." A couple of times I have seen women together with a child. I'm not sure who's child it is, maybe the one wearing the skirt and excessive makeup...IDK. Anyway, the one with the baggy pants and braids decided it was a grand idea to stop the child from moving around by slapping him on the back of the head, picking him up and throwing him down on the seat, and saying something about him being stupid. It was all a bit excessive. The skirt makeup lady just sat there and did nothing as I guess this was the usual form of discipline. How someone can just sit there and allow that to happen to their child is beyond me.some women put up with a lot of crap just so they can have somebody that can also maybe provide for them, man or woman, regardless of how the child is affected. smh why get another women when they are going to be just as abusive or worse than some men?

11:30PM PST on Nov 17, 2010

Obviously the true rate is not zero.

The biggest methodological weakness is the lack direct comparison groups (i.e., recruitment of MM and MF parents within the same study). There still will be various biases (you have to have volunteers after all) but one wouldn't inherently expect any group's results to be more or less biased such that the relative values are off.

Nonetheless, I wouldn't be all that surprised if it does turn out in better studies, that in some regards, FF and maybe MM couples might make slightly better parents on average, if only due to the level of commitment to the process. Kind of hard to accidentally get pregnant as a gay or lesbian couple. I say this as a heterosexual parent myself. If it does exist, it would be a minor effect compared to many stronger factors: parental history of being abused, income/education, parental mental illness, etc. Still all this goes to show that the arguments against gay and lesbian parents are quite weak and misguided.

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