Sexual Assault and Dating Violence
What Is Sexual Assault?
LGBTQI and Sexual Assault
Regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation, anyone can be a victim of sexual assault. It is a myth that same-sex couples cannot be victims of sexual violence. People in LGBTQI relationships experience the same percentage, 30 to 40%, of sexual abuse as people in heterosexual relationships.
People who identify as being members of the LGBTQI community and are survivors of sexual assault face the same barriers to seeking help that all survivors face, but also a range of obstacles that are unique to the LGBTQI community.
LGBTQI survivors, like all survivors...
- Often feel self-blame, shame, fear, anger, and depression
- May feel confused and unsure of what happened
- May be concerned about how others will react to a disclosure
- Need help and access to available resources
LGBTQI survivors may...
- Feel reporting will only reinforce negative stereotypes
- Not be "out" to family and friends---which could represent a significant barrier to reporting if the perpetrator is of the same gender
- Question whether the incident is a hate crime (i.e., directed against the survivor because of their sexual orientation or gender identity)
- Be reluctant to seek help about a sexual assault or an abusive relationship due to fear that others will find out, since many LGBTQI communities tend to be very close and tight-knit
- Feel that their sexual orientation or gender identity is focused on more than the actual sexual assault
- Feel that they are being punished for not acting in accordance with society's prescribed gender roles, increasing the amount of shame that they feel as a result of a sexual assault
- Not want to seek hospital care, especially if the survivor is transgendered, because it would mean revealing that they are a gender other than the sex they were born to, which in turn might cause discrimination
- Lack support not only from the community at large, but also from the LGBTQI community