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 a Sexual Assault Response Advocate. SARAs are available during business hours. For after hours support contact Call to Safety.
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.
Commonly Asked Questions:
What issues around sexual violence are unique to the LGBTQ community?
While it is important to acknowledge the diversity within the LGBTQ community, there are issues of common concern for survivors, arising largely from homophobia and heterosexism. Specifically:
- 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.”
What issues are common to all survivors?
- 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.