Intimate partner violence among women veterans by sexual orientation.Women Health. 2017 08; 57(7):775-791.WH
National estimates suggest intimate partner violence (IPV) rates are equal or higher among lesbian, bisexual, or questioning (LBQ)-identified women than heterosexual-identified women. Women veterans are a population at high risk for IPV, yet the occurrence of lifetime and past-year IPV experiences by sexual orientation have not been examined in this population. Lifetime and past-year IPV experiences and current IPV-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms were assessed with validated screening measures as part of a 2014 web-based national survey of women veterans. Among 403 respondents, 9.7% (n = 39) identified as LBQ, and 90.3% (n = 364) identified as heterosexual. When controlling for age, LBQ-identified women veterans were significantly more likely to report lifetime sexual and physical IPV and lifetime intimate partner stalking. In the past year, LBQ-identified veterans were twice as likely to endorse emotional mistreatment and physical IPV, and three times more likely to endorse sexual IPV, than were heterosexual-identified women veterans. However, sexual orientation was unrelated to IPV-related PTSD symptoms, when controlling for age, race, and number IPV forms experienced. IPV is prevalent among LBQ-identified women veterans, suggesting the need to understand the potentially unique contextual factors and health-care needs of this group.