If you are in an emergency situation, please call Campus Safety at 503-768-7777, or call 911. If you need after-hours crisis support, please contact Call to Safety at 503-235-5333, or the Sexual Assault Resource Center at 503-640-5311.
Regardless of age, gender, sex, sexual orientation, class, race, ethnicity, religion, ability, lifestyle, or experience, you have the right to live without fear or violence. You have the right to dress in any manner, to go to any place, and to be with any people without encountering fear or violence. You have the right to give or deny your consent to any sexual activity, regardless of what you have chosen or not chosen in the past, and you have the right to withdraw that consent after it has already been given without encountering fear or violence.
You have the right to never, ever be blamed for an act of sexual violence perpetrated against you.
If you are a survivor of any form of violence, you have the right to be believed, validated, and supported. You have the right to choose what path you will take toward justice and recovery, and what form healing will take. You have the right to choose when, how, to whom, or even if you report the incident. You deserve to be believed, validated, and supported, and to live without fear or violence.
- Fear, humiliation, self-blame, depression, denial, powerlessness, anger and suicidal feelings are common.
- 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.
Queer survivors of sexual violence have the same basic needs as other survivors, though 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 difficulty in sharing their experiences with friends, family members, counselors, or law enforcement. These challenges are real and valid, and queer survivors have an equally valid right to recovery and justice. The SARAs at Lewis & Clark are trained to assist queer survivors and provide inclusive information and options.
- Survivors who are not “out” may find sharing and/or reporting especially difficult or even impossible.
- The uncertainty of knowing the level of sensitivity of resources may make reaching out for support very difficult.
- If the LGBTQ 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 violence may become the central issues.
- Internalized homophobia may compound the complexities of strong emotions after sexual violence.
- 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 assaulted by a female because of the myth that “women don’t do that sort of thing.”
Differently-abled survivors may face a number of particular challenges. They may be less likely to be believed by friends, family, medical professionals, or law enforcement. They may be unable to communicate easily because of a hearing, speech, or cognitive impairment, or unable to easily access resources because of an impairment in mobility. They may be dependent on caregivers and thus more vulnerable to sexual violence perpetrated by those caregivers. It is important to acknowledge these challenges, and make sure that all survivors are treated with equality and respect, and have access to appropriate resources.
Anyone can be a survivor of sexual violence. Male-indentified survivors have the same right to believed, validated, and supported, but too often, the resources to help them reach recovery are severely lacking.