Sexual Assault in the LGBT Community

Sexual assault affects everyone, in every demographic. However, statistics show that members of the LGBTQ+ community experience a disproportionate amount of sexual assault, harassment, discrimination and violence compared to others. With Sexual Assault Awareness Month just around the corner (April), learn the facts about sexual assault in the LGBT community and what you can do to prevent it where you live and work.

Sexual Assault Statistics in the LGBT Community

According to multiple studies, LGBT people are more likely than non-LGBT people to experience sexual victimization, including sexual assault, aggravated assault and rape. They are more likely to experience sexual violence both from strangers and loved ones. According to data analyzed from the 2017 National Crime Victimization Survey, LGBT people experience an average of 71.1 victimizations per 1,000 individuals, compared to 19.2 victimizations for non-LGBT people. 

The survey also found that those in the LGBT community are almost four times more likely to be targeted for violent crimes than non-LGBT people. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people face higher rates of victimization in every type of violent crime except robbery. The risk of violence against LBTQ women is five times higher than non-LBTQ women, and the risk of violence for GBTQ men is more than twice as high as for non-GBTQ men. 

Why Are LGBTQ+ Individuals More at Risk for Sexual Assault and Violence?

When trying to answer the question of why the LGBT community experiences significantly higher rates of sexual assault and violence, many researchers believe that they are hypersexualized by society. LGBTQ+ people are also categorically devalued by a culture that holds that those who are sexually assaulted are responsible for their own assaults. This phenomenon exacerbates sexual violence against the LGBT community, as well as women of color and indigenous women.

In addition, LGBT people face negative stigmas, myths, biases, prejudice and hate for their sexual orientations or gender expressions. This violence can take the form of sexual assault, even by friends and family members. Anti-LGBT prejudice at school or work can make individuals who identify as homosexual, transgender or queer/questioning at a high risk of victimization for many different crimes, including sexual harassment, abuse, assault and rape.

What You Can Do to Protect the LGBT Community

If you or someone you know is part of the LGBT community, there are steps that you can take to prevent sex crimes. The first step is awareness – awareness of the risks that the individual faces at work and in numerous areas of everyday life. This can help you protect yourself or others against foreseeable acts of sexual assault and violence. The second step is to surround yourself with allies. At work, school or home, seek out allies who will believe you and work with you to protect you from being harmed. The third step is to speak up if you notice anything suspicious or harmful to you or other members of the LGBT community. If you notice a coworker’s prejudice, for example, notify your employer immediately. Carefully document any examples of harassment or sexual assault. Then, get help from professionals without delay.

Providing Legal Assistance for LGBT Sexual Assault Survivors

Sadly, LGBTQ+ survivors of sexual assault are often hesitant to report the crimes committed against them due to perceived biases and discrimination against their identities. It is important, however, if you or a loved one has experienced sexual assault as an LGBT individual, to seek help from the police, hospitals, crisis hotlines, help centers, sexual assault lawyers and other resources available. You are not alone.

At Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, our compassionate and experienced sexual assault lawyers have helped many LGBTQ+ clients seek justice and financial compensation for sex crimes committed against them. We have experience handling cases involving workplace sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual abuse, school sexual harassment, institutional sex crimes, and more. We can protect your anonymity during your case if desired. Please call (800) 700-8450 today for your free and confidential case evaluation.