Sexual assault is devastating to all victims, regardless of gender, gender identification or sexual orientation.
In addition to the fears and concerns that any survivor of sexual assault may have, you may have some that are specifically related to being gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or questioning. These concerns may not only be about what occurred during the assault, but how you will be treated by the health care and justice systems, your friends, family, and if you are in a relationship, your partner.
Some issues you may be dealing with include:
- Fear of disclosure to friends, family and/or employees.
- Fear that your sexual orientation or gender identification will be seen as your central "issue" to health care providers, instead of the assault.
- Concerns that your case will not be taken seriously because of your sexual orientation or gender identification.
- Questioning your sexual orientation or gender identification after the assault.
- Feelings of vulnerability, guilt or self-blame.
It may be helpful to know that you will not be required to disclose your sexual orientation to anyone, unless you choose to do so. Regardless of how you feel about your sexuality - still questioning, closeted, or totally "out" - you are entitled to the same sensitive treatment heterosexual survivors should receive.
If you suspect or know that the assailant knew you were lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning, you may want to report the assailant to the Hate Crime National Hotline 206-350-HATE (4283).
Above all, it is important to remember that the assault is not your fault. This may be hard to acknowledge if you are coming to terms with your sexuality or gender identification, or if the assailant indicated that he/she knew of your orientation. Remember, you have the right to services that are non-judgmental and to surround yourself with those who can emotionally support you through the healing process. There are on-campus resources that can help. Call University Psychological Services or the SRVSS Office at 330-672-8016.