Bisexual, transgender, lesbian and gay people experience violence within their intimate relationships at about the same rates as heterosexuals (Waldner-Haugrud, 1997).
The only difference noticeable is the difference in reporting the incident.
There are barriers and various reasons that heterosexual victims are reluctant to report any domestic/sexual victim of crime. The following are some reasons for not reporting that clients of the Sexual Assault Center Door County have shared:
• The assault was by the person’s significant other or husband.
• The person was intoxicated at the time.
• The person did not want anyone to find out (family, friends, media),
• The incident didn’t fit the “classic” rape scenario and they don’t view it as an assault.
• The person just doesn’t want to talk about it and wants to get on with life.
• The person feels partially to blame and is reluctant to say what happened because even though they know they shouldn’t have been treated that way they think someone will tell them that it is their fault or will be judged for what happened or blamed in some way for what happened to them.
Now add the dynamics of being a person who is lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, or questioning. The same reasons listed above are prevalent for the LGBTQ population along with the following added barriers to reporting:
• Fear of being “outed.”
• Fear that they are betraying the LGBTQ community they belong to.
• Fear of not having anywhere to turn for help.
• Fear of the myths and added blame from a homophobic society.
No one deserves under any circumstance to be dehumanized by another person. Ten percent of hate crimes involve sexual assault. This cannot be tolerated by any community. Domestic and sexual violence is not gender specific and can happen to anyone. Sex crimes can and do occur between the same genders of people. Sex crimes have nothing do to with sexual preference and are only about power and control.
Please educate yourself to eliminate the homophobic myths that are prevalent in our society to help end violence.
Door County is committed to having resources that are confidential and respectful to all people. Resources that can help in domestic/sexual violence are HELP of Door County and the Sexual Assault Center of Door County, a program through Family Services of Northeastern Wisconsin, Inc.
This article is brought to you in part by the Door County Coordinated Community Response (CCR) to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Teams and the Door County Elder and Adult-at-Risk Interdisciplinary Team.