The American Journal of Men’s Health has uncovered new data that reveals a high level of domestic abuse within the gay community.

As part of his study, Rob Stephenson found that 46% of the men he interviewed said they had been a victim of domestic abuse in one form or another in the last year.

That includes physical and sexual violence, as well as emotional abuse and controlling behaviour.

To gather their data, the research team interviewed 320 men from 160 couples in the United States, reports Health Day.

“We’re stuck in this mental representation of domestic violence as a female victim and a male perpetrator,” Stephenson said. “And while that is very important, there are other forms of domestic violence in all types of relationships.”

One further risk of domestic abuse amongst gay men in relationships, Stephenson adds, is an increased risk of acquiring HIV.

He argues that this is due to the power imbalance in abuse relationships, where victims “may have little or no control over condom use or when and how the couple has sex.”

Another factor is that of internalised homophobia, and Stephenson’s study suggests there’s an association with that and domestic abuse in gay relationships.

“The stress of struggling with his sexual identity might cause a gay man to inflict physical or emotional abuse on a partner,” he said.

Stephenson also highlighted the fact that most healthcare providers currently don’t ask males about domestic abuse, and that it’s an issue that needs to have more attention from professionals in the field.

Rob Stephenson is the director of University of Michigan’s Center for Sexuality and Health Disparities.