What is sexual violence?
Sexual violence can take many shapes and sometimes our sexual or romantic orientation and/or gender identity may be used as part of the abuse. Here are some examples that may reflect your experience:
- Sexual harassment and sexual touching
- Rape, non-penetrative and penetrative sexual assault
- Non-contact sexual crimes, such as grooming and indecent images of children, forcing people to do sexual things to themselves, and sharing sexual images of an adult without their consent (sometimes called ‘revenge porn’).
Understanding LGBT+ experiences of sexual violence
We understand that the words around sexual violence are difficult ones and can by triggering for survivors. We can help you understand the words that might be used in other contexts, for example if you report to the police or attend a sexual assault referral centre.
We are mindful that the law does not call sexual assault by one women against another ‘rape’ (it is called serious sexual assault). For some women, this feels like their experience is viewed as less serious by the law. We don’t take it less seriously; we understand the impact of sexual violence by women and we will use the words you want to use. If you want to name your experience as ‘rape’, we support you to do so. If you decide to report to the police, we will help you navigate this process to ensure the impact of your experience is understood.
We also understand that sexual violence experienced by LGBT+ people can be motivated by homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and acephobia. It can be perpetrated by non-LGBT+ people or it can happen within LGBT+ relationships and communities. We know how sexual violence impacts on LGBT+ people’s sense of self, identity, relationships and community, as well as the individual response to trauma.