Queer (LGBTIQQ) Survivors
Regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity, you have the right to be believed, validated, and supported. You have the right to reach justice and recovery without encountering fear, or prejudice. If you are a Queer survivor and have questions or are ready to seek support, please contact the Sexual Assault Response Advocates, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at:
(503) 202-3119 (pager)
Queer survivors of sexual violence have the same basic needs as heterosexual survivors, but they may have trouble finding relevant resources. They may feel marginalized or ignored by discourse around sexual violence, which tends to focus on sexual assault as a crime perpetrated by heterosexual, cisgender men against heterosexual, cisgender women. Queer survivors who don’t wish to disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity may feel unable to tell their full story to friends, family members, counselors, or law enforcement. These challenges are real and valid, but queer survivors have an equally valid right to recovery and justice. The SARAs at Lewis & Clark are trained to assist queer survivors and provide information and options without prejudice or exclusion.
Commonly Asked Questions:
How prevalent is rape in the LGBT community?
Studies vary and insufficient research has been done. A 1990 study in Psychological Reports found 31% of lesbians and 12% of gay men had been raped. However the study did not discern the type of relationship in which the assault took place. Although most men who are raped are raped by homophobic straight men and most women are raped by men, rape within LGBT relationships is a serious reality. One study found that 52% of LGBT people had been raped by someone of the same gender.
What issues around rape are unique to the LGBT community?
While it is important to acknowledge the diversity within the LGBT community, there are issues of common concern for rape survivors, arising largely from homophobia and heterosexism. Specifically:
- Survivors who are not “out” may find sharing and/or reporting the rape especially difficult or even impossible
- The uncertainty of knowing the level of sensitivity of resources may make reaching out for support very difficult.
- Lack of awareness of same-sex rape both within and without the LGBT community may make silence seem like the only option.
- If the LGBT community is small, the fear of other’s disbelief and/or people “taking sides” may cause the survivor to keep silent
- Guilt and self-blame may take the form of questioning ones sexual identity and sexuality. These, rather than the rape may become the central issues.
- Internalized homophobia may compound the complexities of strong emotions after rape.
- Gay/Bi male survivors may face the fear of not being believed and/or being ridiculed because of the stereotype of men never rejecting a sexual opportunity.
- Lesbian/Bi women survivors may face the fear of not being believed if they are raped by a female because of the myth that “women don’t do that sort of thing.”
What issues are common to all rape survivors?
- Fear, humiliation, self-blame, depression,denial, powerlessness, anger and suicidal feelings are common after rape.
- The need to be believed and reassured that what happened was in no way their fault
- The need to be given the dignity of making their own decisions about any course of action.
The Office of Health Promotion and Wellness is located in room 012 of Odell Residence Hall on the Undergraduate Campus.
Associate Director for Health PromotionMelissa Osmond
Office of Health Promotion and Wellness
Lewis & Clark
0615 S.W. Palatine Hill Road, MSC 182
Portland, OR 97219