Most of the emotional responses to sexual assault are the same for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Questioning (LGBTQ) and heterosexual survivors. Some additional considerations that may affect LGBTQ survivors include:
- He or she may question whether the assault happened because of his or her sexuality (which could be the case). This could reinforce feelings of fear and vulnerability.
- Due to prejudice against LGBTQ individuals in the United States, he or she may be concerned about how he or she will be treated be medical professionals, lawyers, police, etc. If he or she chooses to make his or her sexual orientation known.
- If the survivor does not disclose that his or her sexuality, he or she will be asked questions that are difficult to answer. For example, having answered that he or she is sexually active, he or she will be asked what form of birth control/protection is used. When the person replies “none’ he or she may be subjected to a lecture on contraception and safer sex. He or she will also be under additional emotional pressure to think carefully about what to say, and will not be able to discuss his or her thoughts freely.
- Isolation from family and social mainstream due to sexual orientation may deprive LGBTQ survivors of needed social support.
- LGBTQ survivor’s primary support person may be his or 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.
Brochure on Sexual Assault