LGBTQ+ Sexual Assault Survivors
Sexual violence affects every demographic, community, gender identity, and sexual orientation.
The #MeToo Movement has made history giving sexual assault survivors a voice. People are finally listening, but often LGBTQ+ survivors have been left in the margins of these conversations.
If you were sexually abused as a child or adult and are LGBTQ+ – we believe you and it’s not your fault. We know that the societal expectation of sexual violence has a binary structure, and many assume that it only occurs between a man and woman, but we know that sexual violence comes in many forms.
No matter your gender or sexual orientation, no one should go through the trauma of sexual assault without an advocate.
We have been helping survivors of sexual assault fight for justice for over fifteen years. We are here to listen, answer questions, and help you understand your legal options. We offer confidential consultations free of charge. Call us when you are ready (619) 516-8166 or fill out our contact form.
Fear of Coming Out
Our team knows that coming forward about one’s sexual assault is already an incredibly difficult decision and for queer survivors this may also mean coming out about their sexuality or gender identity to individuals they do not yet know. We want to ensure that each LGBTQ+ individual that comes forward knows that The Pride Law Firm is a safe space for all queer identities and sexualities to safely share their stories and will be believed.
Heightened Vulnerability of LGBTQ+ People
As a community, LGBTQ+ people face higher rates of stigma and marginalization, placing all members at greater risk for sexual assault and abuse. Specifically, this means higher rates of hate-motivated crimes and violence, which often take the form of sexual assault.
In addition, intersections with systemic inequality such as homophobia, transphobia, racism, misogyny, and other forms of discrimination may increase the risk of sexual assault for various subsets of the LGBTQ+ population.
Consider the following statistics regarding LGBTQ+ sexual assault rates compiled by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) from various studies:
- 46% of bisexual women and %13 of lesbian women have been raped,
- 40% of gay men and 47% of bisexual men have experienced sexual violence other than rape.
- Nearly 1 in 8 lesbian women (13%), and almost half of bisexual women (46%), have been raped in their lifetime
- 47% of transgender individuals are sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime
Among LGBTQ+ individuals, transgender people and bisexual women face the most alarming rates of sexual violence. For these communities, sexual violence begins early, often during childhood.
In a legal setting, this means that sexual assault incidents against LGBTQ+ people may be tied in with a complex net of social, cultural, and economic factors; such factors must be considered and acknowledged when interacting with survivors.
At The Pride Law Firm, we work closely with LGBTQ+ survivors We understand the many intersecting factors that are present in cases for queer folks. We ensure that our team is well trained, respectful, and understanding to Queer survivors.
What Are the Long-Term Effects of LGBTQ+ Sexual Assault?
The effects of a single sexual assault incident can heavily impact the survivor. They can affect a person not just in the moments after the incident, but in the long run over the course of their lives.
Long-term effects of sexual assault may be severe, especially in connection with abuses that occur during childhood. These include:
- Depression, anxiety, PTSD
- Substance abuse
- Lack of confidence or self-worth
- Eating disorders
In addition, sexual assaults that are motivated by LGBTQ+ issues or hate crimes can have severely damaging effects on the survivor’s sense of identity and social interactions. Often, survivors hesitate or refrain from reporting due to feelings of fear, guilt, embarrassment, or confusion. This reaction is normal and it is common to delay reporting crimes that immensely impact safety, identity, and body.
Long-term effects and impacts of LGBTQ+ sexual assaults must be considered when litigating these types of cases. This is especially important in cases where the acts occur in institutions like rehabilitation centers or religious settings, where the behavior is often perpetuated and allowed to occur over long periods of time. Highlighting the long-term damage is one way to shed light on how egregious the conduct is, and to hold the institutions fully accountable for their violations.
What Types of Workplace Discrimination and Harassment Do the LGBTQ+ Community Face?
The workplace is one of the major fields of discrimination and harassment against LGBTQ+ people. To clarify, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) considers harassment to be a form of discrimination:
“Harassment is unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including sexual orientation, gender identity, or pregnancy), national origin, older age (beginning at age 40), disability, or genetic information (including family medical history).”
This can take many forms and may manifest in various ways. For LGBTQ+ people, examples of sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace include:
Examples of Gender-Based Discrimination
- Unequal treatment in hiring or firing processes based on gender or gender identity
- Being subjected to unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other forms of sexual harassment.
- Unwanted questions regarding LGBTQ+ sex, requesting confirmation of one’s genitalia, or sexualized commentary regarding their identities.
- Denial of benefits, promotions, or recognition on account of gender identity
- Being punished for behavior that does not result in disciplinary action when performed by an employee of another gender
- Repeated exposure to derogatory language or slurs based on gender
- Being misgendered by a title or name that you don’t identify with (Mr., Mrs., or deadnaming.)
One of the problems with LGBTQ+ workplace discrimination is that it can often be built into the company’s culture, policies, and practices. Sometimes, harassment may be coming from the very people you are supposed to report to.
LGBTQ+ People’s Experiences in the Workplace
- 1 in 10 LGBTQ+ workers experienced discrimination at work in the last year
- LGBTQ+ employees of color were more likely to report being denied jobs and verbal harassment
- Many LGBTQ+ employees reported engaging in “covering” behaviors to avoid harassment or discrimination at work
- 46% of LGBTQ+ workers have experienced unfair treatment at work at some point in their lives
- 38% of LGBTQ+ employees reported experiencing harassment at work
- 34% of LGBTQ+ employees have left their job because of the way their employer treated them
Why LGBTQ+ Sexual Assault Survivors Should File a Lawsuit
Here we address a few of the top concerns LGBTQ+ sexual assault survivors have about taking legal action against their abusers.
I am not ready to come out, and I don’t want anyone to know about what happened to me.
For many who have suffered from assault, the desire to remain anonymous is incredibly strong. This is especially true for LGBTQ+ survivors. As we mentioned earlier, LGBTQ+ survivors often don’t report because of unsupportive communities, fear of not being believed, or not wanting others to know their identity.
Filing a lawsuit is completely confidential and your name will not appear in public without your consent. This is a common fear many survivors have and can keep them from pursuing their perpetrators in civil court. However, we assure you that your information is safe, and all potential cases are protected by a client/attorney privilege.
What if I can’t afford to hire an attorney?
We work tirelessly to win you the justice you deserve, and if we don’t recover financial compensation for your losses – you don’t have to pay a penny. The Pride Law Firm works on a contingency fee basis, which means that you do not need to pay any out-of-pocket fees. We only receive a fee for our services if we are successful in securing an award for the crimes committed against you.
I don’t want to go through a legal battle, is filing a lawsuit worth it?
Many of our clients share that they only want to be healed of their trauma and move on with their lives. That is why filing a lawsuit is not typically about money, but about closure. Bringing your perpetrator to justice helps ensure they will not hurt someone else again and holds them accountable for their actions.
It’s also important to note that the financial compensation we seek for you is what helps offset the cost of quality counseling services, therapy, and anything else you may need in your journey to health and wholeness.
What Benefit Is There to Pursuing Legal Action?
Filing a lawsuit for LGBTQ+ sexual assault or harassment benefit the individual survivor by having their experience validated and monetary compensation to move forward with their life. Filing a lawsuit can also create change in securing safer communities and work environments for everyone. By pursuing legal action, you can help:
- Hold liable institutions accountable for their actions
- Set court precedent for novel case issues
- Provide important information to change or amend laws
- Change societal norms
- Improve company policies and practices
- Break down systemic forms of oppression and discrimination
In many instances, entire movements such as the #MeToo movement gained backing and momentum due to breaking cases and legal work. Oftentimes, this can be much faster than relying on changes through the legislature or city councils. With LGBTQ+ issues, we understand that there is still so much work to do.
For survivors, a court award can help improve their quality of life and grant them access to resources they might not otherwise have. A settlement or damages award can assist with:
- Costs of treatment, including therapy or counseling
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Additional costs not covered by insurance
Reach Out to Jessica Pride
The Pride Law Firm is more than just a professional law firm—we are a trusted network of resources for LGBTQ+ survivors. We employ two full-time survivor advocates for support throughout the entire legal process. Our team is also equipped with trauma-informed training to specifically meet every survivor’s needs.
What happened is not your fault, no matter where you were, who you were with or what you were doing when it occurred. Contact us at (619) 516-8166 to discuss your circumstances in absolute privacy and confidentiality. We value your identity and will answer all of your questions.
Reach Out to Us
If you have been a victim of sexual assault, child sexual abuse, or workplace sexual harassment we are here to answer your questions, provide a free and confidential case evaluation, and connect you to resources.
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The Pride Law Firm
2831 Camino Del Rio S., Suite 104
San Diego, CA 92108
Hours. M-F 8:30am - 5:00pm PST
Phone. (619) 516-8166
Fax. (619) 785-3414