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Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault and sexual violence is a painful reality in the LGBT community, just as it is among heterosexuals. Sadly, many LGBT folks who have been raped or sexually assaulted suffer in silence. Many people lack of awareness that you can be a victim of sexual assault regardless of your gender or the gender of the perpetrator. Although it is changing, many rape crisis centers have traditionally served heterosexual women and may lack resources to best help LGBT survivors. If you have been raped or assaulted, you do not need to face this alone. The VRP provides supportive counseling specifically for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, of sexual assault and, through our partnership with Boston Area Rape Crisis (BARCC), we offer the region's only support group for male survivors of rape and sexual assault. These crimes disrupt the lives of victims and those who care about them. We can help survivors and friends and families to cope and heal.

Information for Gay, Transgender, and Bisexual Male Survivors

Information for Lesbian, Transgender, and Bisexual Women Survivors

How We Can Help

 

Information for Gay, Transgender, and Bisexual Male Survivors

You are not alone.
Rape and sexual assault can happen to anyone, regardless of their race, class, age, size, or appearance or sexual orientation. They are violent crimes used to exert power and to humiliate and control. Research indicates that as many as 1 in 14 men are raped, so you are definitely not alone in your experience.
You are not to blame.
You did not ask for it, and you are definitely not to blame. Nothing a person wears, does, or says makes them deserving of sexual victimization. No one asks to be raped. Even if you picked the person up or were already engaged in sexual activity, you always have the right to say no and have that communication be respected.

It’s not about sex.
Sex requires your consent. Rape and sexual assault are violent crimes motivated by aggression and a desire for power. Being forced to have unprotected sex or engage in more sexual activity than you wanted also constitutes rape or sexual assault. If you could not say no because you were drunk, high, or unconscious or have a disability, it is still rape or sexual assault. If you had your boundaries violated in a “scene” or your “safe” word was disregarded, it is still considered rape or sexual assault. Similarly, if you were sex working and someone forced you to do something you had not agreed to it is rape or sexual assault.

It’s not about your sexuality.
Sexual assault has nothing to do with sexuality. Gay, bi, trans, and straight men all get assaulted. Perpetrators aren’t necessarily gay, either. In fact, the majority of perpetrators identify as straight.

You have survived.
Rape and sexual assault can be life-threatening situations. Regardless of whether a weapon is used or not, you were probably very scared. Something you did allowed you to escape the assault with your life. You may have cooperated in order to get out alive; this does not mean you consented. Sometimes you need to cooperate to save your life. The fact that you are alive is a testament to your abilities as a survivor.

Common reactions to sexual assault are varied and all of them are normal
Fear, guilt, hyper-alertness, depression, anger, panic-attacks, flashbacks, mood swings, and confusion about your sexuality are common after-effects of rape. Partners, family and close friends who are aware of what happened may also experience some of these changes. You are not abnormal for experiencing any one or all of them. Rape and sexual assaults are traumatic experiences and these responses are the natural response of your body and mind trying to make sense of an overwhelming experience. Whether you are a survivor or a loved one, support and counseling with one of the Violence Recovery Program’s counselor’s can help you to cope. Call: 617-927-6250 or 800-834-3242 (toll free)

What You Can Do:
Get yourself to safety. Contact the police or someone you trust immediately so that you can seek medical attention as soon as possible. STD’s and other infections can occur as a result of rape or sexual assault. Early treatment, including PEP, or post exposure prophylaxis, can help prevent infections, to help lessen the risk of HIV infection if you are concerned about exposure. If you choose a rape evidence kit can be done by a trained sexual assault nurse. Even if you choose not to report to the police at this time, you may want to later. Having the kit allows you to make that decision at a later time. It is kept as evidence and helps build a strong case against the attacker if you decide to file charges against him or her. If you decide to have a rape kit done, ask at the hospital if an advocate can accompany you. Some hospitals provide a trained sexual assault advocate to support you and insure sensitive treatment in the emergency room. The hospital examination can be less intimidating if you have a supportive person with you. Ask your health care provider for sensitivity and consent to physical touch during the course of the physical examination. This is a reasonable and normal request and will likely help you to feel a greater sense of control and safety in this situation.

Preserve your rights. It is normal to want to feel clean after a rape or a sexual assault. However, it is not recommended that you bathe until you have been seen by a doctor or nurse and a rape evidence kit has been performed. Keeping your clothes and not washing them are also important ways to preserve evidence.

Deciding to report a rape or assault can be a difficult decision. It is always your choice to make.

Call the Violence Recovery Program at 617.927.6250 or toll free at: 800.834.3242
We’re here to support you, with full respect for your decisions about how to proceed.

We offer individual and group counseling, advocacy, information and referrals. Click here to learn more.

Adapted from the NY Anti-Violence Project.

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Information for Lesbian, Transgender, and Bisexual Women Survivors

You are not alone.
Rape and sexual assault can happen to any woman regardless of her race, class, size, what she looks like, or what her sexual orientation is. They are violent crimes used to exert power, humiliate and control.

It’s not your fault.
You did not ask for it, and you are definitely not to blame. Nothing a person wears, does, or says makes them deserving of sexual victimization. No one asks to be raped. It doesn’t matter if you met the person to hook up or were already engaged in sexual activity, you always have the right to say no and have that communication be respected.

It’s not about sex.
Sex requires your consent. Rape and sexual assault are violent crimes motivated by aggression and a desire for power. Being forced to have unprotected sex or engage in more sexual activity than you wanted also constitutes rape or sexual assault. If you could not say no because you were drunk, high, or unconscious or have a disability, it is still rape or sexual assault. If you had your boundaries violated in a “scene” or your “safe” word was disregarded, it is still considered rape or sexual assault. Similarly, if you were sex working and someone forced you to do something you had not agreed to it is rape or sexual assault. Both men and women can commit rape and sexual assault against women.

If the attacker is a man:
Some men who commit sexual assault or rape against a lesbian, bisexual or trans woman may think that they can “change” a woman’s sexual orientation. Other men hate women and they use rape as a way of using power and control to cause women pain and humiliation. These crimes can also be hate crimes.

For lesbians and other women who are intimate with other women, sexual orientation may be interconnected with political and social beliefs. If this is the case, and the attacker is male, the assault is likely to reverberate on multiple levels, feeling like an assault on your body, your identity, and your values. Because this is so multi-layered and personally targeted, it is important to speak with someone who understands the multi-dimensional way in which which this assault affects you. The VRP can help you with this.

If the attacker is a woman

Although assaults perpetrated by a woman on another woman are not talked about very much, they do happen. Women can commit acts of sexual violence whether they are someone you just met or are an intimate partner. It can be very difficult to seek help when the attacker is another woman, especially if she is a lover. Breaking the silence can be particularly difficult because of fears about “turning on one of your own” or feelings of shock, betrayal, and surprise that a woman could do this to another woman. Regardless of the gender or sexual orientation of your attacker rape and sexual assault are violent crimes. Don’t suffer in silence. You deserve support to help negotiate this traumatic experience.

You have survived
Rape and sexual assault can be life-threatening situations. Regardless of whether a weapon is used or not, you were probably very scared. Something you did allowed you to escape the assault with your life. You may have cooperated in order to get out alive; this does not mean you consented. Sometimes you need to cooperate to save your life. The fact that you are alive is a testament to your abilities as a survivor

Common reactions to sexual assault are varied and all of them are normal
Fear, guilt, hyper-alertness, depression, anger, panic-attacks, flashbacks, mood swings, and confusion about your sexuality are common after-effects of rape. Partners, family and close friends who are aware of what happened may also experience some of these changes. You are not abnormal for experiencing any one or all of them. Rape and sexual assaults are traumatic experiences, and these responses are the natural response of your body and mind trying to make sense of an overwhelming experience. Whether you are a survivor or a loved one, support and counseling with one of the Violence Recovery Program’s counselor’s can help you to cope. Call 617.927.6250 or 800.834.3242 (toll free)

What You Can Do:
Get yourself to safety. Contact the police or someone you trust immediately so that you can seek medical attention as soon as possible. STD’s and other infections can occur as a result of rape or sexual assault. Early treatment, including PEP, or post exposure prophylaxis, can help to lessen the risk of HIV infection if you are concerned about exposure. If you choose, a rape evidence kit can be done by a trained sexual assault nurse. Even if you choose not to report to the police at this time, you may want to later. Having the kit allows you to make that decision at a later time. It is kept as evidence and helps build a strong case against the attacker if you decide to file charges against your attacker. If you decide to have a rape kit done, ask if the hospital if an advocate can accompany you. Some hospitals provide a trained sexual assault advocate to support you and insure sensitive treatment in the emergency room. The hospital examination can be less intimidating if you have a supportive person with you. Ask your health care provider for sensitivity and consent to physical touch during the course of the physical examination. This is a reasonable and normal request and will likely help you to feel a greater sense of control and safety in this situation.

Preserve your rights. It is normal to want to feel clean after a rape or a sexual assault. However, it is not recommended that you bathe until you have been seen by a doctor or nurse and a rape evidence kit has been performed. Keeping your clothes and not washing them are also important ways to preserve evidence.

Deciding to report a rape or assault can be a difficulty decision. It is always your choice to make.

Call the Violence Recovery Program at 617.927.6250 or toll free at 800.834.3242
We’re here to support you, with full respect for your decisions about how to proceed

We offer individual and group counseling, advocacy, information and referrals. Click here to learn more.

Adapted from the NY Anti-Violence Project.

 


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