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LGBTQ Sexual Abuse

For LGBTQ survivors of sexual assault, their identities and discrimination they face surrounding those identities often make them feel hesitant to ask for help from police, hospitals, or rape crisis centers. There can be many fears they face when reporting or even seeking help. The emotional impact of a sexual assault has many similarities to heterosexual victims; however, LGBTQ survivors face additional hurdles.

Some of these hurdles may include:

  • Fears of being "outed" especially those who have not disclosed to family, friends, or co-workers leaving them feeling alone and helpless.

  • Not wanting to feel disloyal to their community by reporting a sexual assault by a LGBTQ partner or friend.

  • Risk of receiving transphobic, homophobic, or biphobic responses from law enforcement, hospital staff, or other systems.

  • Incorrect beliefs (by themselves or others) that they deserve or should expect violence because of their sexuality or gender identity and/or that the assault occurred because of their orientation or identity.

Everyone should be able to trust friends, family, and partners to respect their bodies and boundaries. Nevertheless, sexual violence occurs most often with people we know in places we are supposed to feel safe. This is true in all relationships, including those for LGBTQ folks. The power and control dynamics that can be involved may include using drugs or alcohol to incapacitate, forcing sex acts to “prove” a person’s identities, threatening to “out” someone, and withholding HIV medication or hormones as punishment.

If you or someone you know is in need of help, support, or additional resources call Passages 24/7 free, confidential supoort line at 800-236-4325. You are not alone and Passages supports you.

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