Information on Lesbian Sexual Assault

18 09 2006

Thanks to BFP for posting this important information over at Women of Color Blog!

Via San Francisco Women Against Rape

Did you know that…

* women can be raped by other women?
* women can sexually assault other women?
* violence occurs in 1 out of 4 lesbian relationships?
* lesbian domestic violence often includes lesbian rape?
* lesbian rape is almost always unreported?

Why don’t we hear more about this?
Because many people define rape as penetration by a penis, woman to woman rape is not acknowledged or is not taken seriously. But in fact, it is estimated that 1 out of 3 lesbians have been sexually assaulted by another woman.

Lesbians and bisexual women are targeted for sexual violence. Most of these crimes go unreported. In addition to surviving sexual violence perpetrated by other lesbians, lesbian survivors are also raped by men. In the U.S., homophobia and heterosexism set the stage for many forms of violence, including sexual violence against lesbians. The majority of these crimes go unreported.

Most of the me who sexually abuse children are heterosexual. Statistics show that unlike the popular opinion, most of the cases of child sexual abuse are committed by heterosexual men.

Rape is about power and control and not about roles. There is a myth that butches are never raped and femmes never rape. The fact is that regardless of how one identifies s/he can be raped. There is no way to tell by looking at two women who is the rapist and who is the survivor. While some butches rape, so do some femmes.

Most of the rapes in the U.S. are committed by white men. Many people in the U.S. wrongly believe that the majority of rapes are committed by men-of-color against white women. The fact is that 90% of rapes occur between people of the same race. However, men-of-Color are disproportionately incarcerated.

Differently-abled women are at higher risk of being sexually assaulted than other women. Women with disabilities are often targeted for sexual violence. This violence is often made invisible by society’s false assumptions that rape is about sex and that women with disabilities are asexual. Women with developmental disabilities are at 50% higher risk of being sexually assaulted/

Women-of Color are raped at a higher rate than white women. Women-of-Color have survived rapes by men of their own communities, in addition to rapes committed by white men. Myths such as “women of color are unrapable or oversexed” were intentionally created to erase the history of rape and brutalization of Women-of-Color by white men.

Women do not ask to be raped by dressing a certain way or being out late at night. A woman may be raped in any kind of clothing. Rape is a violence choice made solely by the rapist, and has nothing to do with what a woman wears. A woman should be able to choose what she wears, where she goes, who she has sex with, and NOT BE RAPED. Rape is used as a way to control women and their choices.

We live in a society that wants to hide these facts from us. Everyday, we are given messages about rape that reinforce racism, sexism, homophobia, classism and anti-immigrant sentiments.

Barriers to confronting same-sex rape:
Women who survive same-sex rape go through a similar recovery process as people who survive opposite-sex rape. This can include feeling confused, angry, scared, etc. In addition to these feelings, we also experience barriers to recovery as a result of living in a heterosexist and homophobic society. Some of these barriers include:

DISBELIEF. Many people do not want to believe or are unaware that same-sex rape happens. If it is acknowledged, often it is thought to be “not as bad” as male-female rape.

DENIAL. Even lesbians and bisexual women do not want to believe that we could hurt each other. But rape and sexual assault happen in our communities: on dates, in relationships, between acquaintances, coworkers and strangers.

HOMOPHOBIA. Another reason for hesitating to talk about same sex rape is the fear of being accused of betraying the queer community. Because of denial and disbelief on one hand, and the homophobia and heterosexism of the society on the other hand, many lesbians and bisexual women do not want to hear that women can hurt each other. The survivor may be accused of betraying “the community” an be isolated from support.

If you were sexually assaulted, REMEMBER–it was not your fault and you are NOT ALONE. Many lesbians and bisexual women are raped, although it may be hard for some survivors to talk about it. No matter what you were wearing, where you were, who you were with, and what you were doing, you did not deserve to be raped. You have a right to say no to anyone, even your lover, partner, date, or to any sexual activity you do not want.


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