Supporting LGBTQ+ Survivors

June can be a wonderful month of pride, and there is a strong sense of community for those identifying as LGBTQ+. It can also bring up uncomfortable memories and emotions for survivors. Sexual violence affects all communities. For LGBTQ+ survivors, they may face unique challenges.

Survivors identifying as LGBTQ+ may be scared to disclose their assault, especially if they are not ‘out’ yet. Sexual violence does not discriminate; perpetrators and survivors can be any gender. Any survivor of sexual assault can feel a sense of shame or embarrassment. If someone discloses their experience with sexual violence, it can be shocking, confusing, or bring up feelings of anger. These are all normal emotions. It is important to consider how you respond to the survivor so they feel supported.

Unhelpful responses:

  • Questions that blame the victim. For example, ‘What were you wearing?’ ‘Did you have anything to drink?’ ‘Did you lead them on?’
  • Asking for details about the assault
  • Judging or questioning their sexuality
  • Dismissing their experience

Helpful responses:

  • Thanking them for sharing their experience
  • Listening
  • Acknowledging their strength
  • Expressing concern for their safety

Regardless of sexuality, we are all human, and no one deserves to be touched without consent. Our 24/7 support line is available at 847-872-7799 if you would like to speak with an advocate.

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