There are many myths and stereotypes about sexual assault. But when you add in myths and prejudices about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning (LGBTQ) people, a survivor faces even more misconceptions.
Sexual assault survivors of all backgrounds and orientations often go through similar feelings like persistent fear, flashbacks, sleep problems, guilt, shame, anger, and difficulty trusting.
Sexual Assault is not only rape; it is also ANY type of unwanted sexual contact. Everyone has the right to decide what they do or don't want to do sexually. Not all sexual assaults are violent "attacks"; in fact 80 - 90% of sexual assault survivors know their perpetrator. Forcing or pressuring someone to do something they don't want to do or consent to is sexual assault.
Myths and prejudices may put LGBTQ people at increased risk for sexual assault:
- A person may be targeted for a hate crime based on their appearance, gender identity, or sexual orientation.
- Women often assume that other women are never violent and may not be as cautious when engaging with other females.
- Survivors risk that they will be confronted with prejudice at a time when they are very vulnerable and need understanding.
A LGBTQ person may be less likely to report an assault or get help out of fear that they will be blamed for the assault because of their "lifestyle", by friends, family, or officials.
Sexual assault is never a victim's fault, regardless of what you were wearing, if you had said yes before, if you know the perpetrator(s) or if drugs or alcohol were involved.
If you believe you have been sexually assaulted / raped, call WEAVE's 24-Hour Support and Information Line, 916.920.2952, as soon as possible.