Sexual assault is a broad term that can include various kinds of sexually motivated violence. Sexual assault in same-sex relationships has been an under-reported and rarely discussed phenomenon. Sexual assault and coercion can take place within the context of an already established same-sex domestic partnership, or in a same-sex dating relationship. A stranger, a stalker, an acquaintance or a family member can also initiate sexual victimization. Some incidents of gay-bashing and bias related crime involve sexual abuse of the victim. Abusers who target lesbian and gay people may be homosexual or heterosexual. Many assaults are directed towards gender variant people.
One reason these assaults are under-reported is because gathering accurate statistics is extremely difficult; the statistics we have are assumed to be conservative, since most victims simply do not report an assault, and this is probably disproportionately true for men and people of color since they do not expect consistent and respectful treatment from the law enforcement, criminal justice, medical, and judicial systems. Further complicating the matter is the fact that the research on sexual assault has been compiled using participants who are assumed to be heterosexual.
Police estimate that 80% of sexual assaults occur between individuals who know one another. It's not reasonable to assume that LGBT individuals are victims of sexual assault at the same rate as the heterosexual community. But an additional factor is that sexual assaults have been perpetrated as acts of homophobia and hate crimes.
As with Domestic Violence, there are a number of myths about Sexual Assault in the LGBT Community.
The needs of sexual assault victims apply to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. If you have been a victim of sexual assault there are some concrete steps you can take:
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