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Little safe haven for sexually assaulted LGBTQ victims
Date:8/13/2009

Being a victim of sexual assault and seeking help is difficult for anyone, but when the victim is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer (LGBTQ) the thought of reporting a crime may well be laced with added layers of uncertainty and mistrust, according to a study in Oregon.

The study, appearing in the August issue of the journal Violence Against Women, found that 94 percent of respondents -- most of them identifying as LGBTQ in Eugene-Springfield -- think sexual violence is a problem, but just 72 percent agreed it is in their community. Eighty-seven percent of respondents also said that that sexual violence prevention tailored to the LGBTQ community is needed, and more than 60 percent felt local agencies and law enforcement were ill-equipped.

Of 130 participants, ranging in age from 15 to 71, 58 percent claimed to have been sexually assaulted. The participants were 83 females, 40 males, six who identified as transgender and one who did not specify sexual identity. Thirty respondents (23 percent) were gay, 20 percent were lesbian, 18.5 percent were bisexual and 18.5 percent were heterosexual; the remainder claimed to be in multiple categories or did not respond.

"The take-home message was that sexual violence is real and complicated for members of the LGBTQ community," said lead author Jeffrey L. Todahl, a professor of couples and family therapy in the UO College of Education's department of counseling psychology and human services. "There are additional barriers because of discrimination. It is hard enough to reach out to ask for help if you are sexually assaulted. This is compounded when you have to wonder if people in law enforcement, at a hospital or with an agency will think poorly of you because of your sexual orientation. An LGBTQ victim will ask, 'Will I be judged, and is your organization safe? If I can't trust you, I cannot get the help I need.'"

The study, drawn from a convenience sample rather th
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Contact: Jim Barlow
jebarlow@uoregon.edu
541-346-3481
University of Oregon
Source:Eurekalert  

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Little safe haven for sexually assaulted LGBTQ victims
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