With New Glasgow’s Pride upcoming in July, it is an opportune time to reflect on the nature of sexualized violence against the LGBTQ2+ community. As with much else, based on the increased marginalization and discrimination faced by the LGBTQ2+ community, their experiences of sexualized violence are varied from those of heterosexual individuals.
As reported by Statistics Canada in 2015, violent hate crimes are on the rise, with the LGBTQ2+ community experiencing the majority (59 per cent) of the violent hate crimes committed. Violent hate crimes comprise acts such as assault, threats, and criminal harassment, including sexual assault and sexualized violence. Hate crimes towards the LGBTQ2+ community commonly include sexual assault and sexualized violence from persons of the opposite gender, as a means of “conversion.” This is violent and violating towards LGBTQ2+ persons across multiple spheres, as they have been invaded physically, mentally, and emotionally, and are specifically being targeted because their perpetrator questions their right to existence. The trauma from this is complex, and benefits from specialized understanding of LGBTQ2+ experiences.
The LGBTQ2+ community is also at increased risk of experiencing sexualized violence, from the already unacceptable rates of one in three women, and one in six men. In a 2010 survey conducted by the Centre for Disease Control, it was found that 44 per cent of lesbians, 26 per cent of gay men, 61 per cent of bisexual women, and 37 per cent of bisexual men will experience rape, physical violence or stalking from an intimate partner. Furthermore, 46 per cent of bisexual women have been raped, compared to 17 per cent for heterosexual women. Trans individuals in our community will experience even greater volumes of violence in their lifetimes, with 47 per cent of transgender people being sexually assaulted in their lifetime.
During this epidemic of sexualized violence towards LGBTQ2+ individuals, it is paramount that every community recognize safe spaces for LGBTQ2+ survivors to reach out to. For any LGBTQ2+ survivors or allies who may be reading, I would like to identify the Pictou County Women’s Resource and Sexual Assault Centre as a safe resource for EVERY women who has experienced sexual violence or desires support in other areas. Additionally, Pictou County Centre for Sexual Health is able to support all genders in their healing. The MORPH navigator, available at firstname.lastname@example.org or 902-755-4647, is pleased to be able to support all survivors of sexualized violence in navigating the resources available.