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.