What is sexual assault?

  • Sexual assault may include (but is not limited to) forced vaginal or anal penetration, forced oral sex, forced touching, or any additional form of forced sexual activity.
  • Sexual assault may occur on a date, between friends, partners or strangers.

Issues regarding sexual assault that are unique to the LGBTQIA+  community:

  • Survivors who are not “out” may find sharing and/or reporting the sexual assault difficult or impossible.
  • Due to the lack of awareness surrounding sexual assault the LGBTQIA+ community may make silence appear the only option.
  • If the survivor’s community is small, the fear of other’s skepticism and/or people “taking sides” may cause the survivor to keep silent.
  • Guilt and self-blame (which are common symptoms of all survivors) may lead to questioning ones sexual identity and sexuality.
  • One’s own internalized homophobia may further complicate the complexities of sexual assault.
  • Gay/bi male identified survivors may be apprehensive to report and fear being ignored and/or rejected as overly sensitive due to the stereotype that they are promiscuous and invited the assault upon themselves.
  • Lesbian/bi women identified survivors may face being ignored or having their claims discarded if their attacker is a female because women are not socially seen as sexual perpetrators.

Common fears of LGBTQIA+ sexual violence survivors:

  • Not being taken seriously or having their experience minimized.
  • Not having their experience labeled as sexual assault or rape.
  • Having their experience sensationalized.
  • Having to explain how the assault happened in more detail than one would ask a survivor of opposite-sex assault.
  • Being blamed for the assault.
  • Not being understood or being blamed if it happened in an S&M environment.
  • Being treated in a homophobic manner by the police, hospital staff or others.
  • Mistakenly being perceived as the perpetrator.
  • Being “outed.”