Lesbian Rape

Most of the emotional responses to sexual assault are the same for lesbian and heterosexual survivors. Some additional considerations that may affect lesbian survivors include:

  • She may question whether the assault happened because she is a lesbian (which could be the case). This could reinforce feelings of fear and vulnerability.
  • Due to prejudice against lesbian women in the United States, she may be concerned about how she will be treated be medical professionals, lawyers, police, etc. If she chooses to make her sexual orientation known.
  • If she does not disclose that she is a lesbian, she will be asked questions that are difficult to answer. For example, having answered that she is sexually active, she will be asked what form of birth control she uses. When she replies "none" she may be subjected to a lecture on contraception and safer sex. She will also be under additional emotional pressure to think carefully about what she says, and will not be able to discuss her thoughts freely.
  • Isolation from family and social mainstream due to sexual orientation may deprive lesbians of needed social support.
  • A lesbian survivor's primary support person may be her partner. This person must be treated with the respect a concerned and supportive family member deserves.

Adapted from Surviving Sexual Assault (1991), prepared by the Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women.