CMSAC strives to provide free, non-judgmental, accessible, and confidential services for survivors who self-identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Pansexual, Transgender, Genderqueer, Queer, Intersexed, Agender, Asexual, and Ally as well as many other gender and sexual identities (LGBTQIA+). We also collaborate with many groups, organizations, and community leaders locally and throughout the state to confront sexual violence in historically marginalized communities.
Research has found LGBTQIA+ individuals experience sexual violations at similar or higher rates than individuals identifying as heterosexual (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015).
LGBTQIA+ victims/survivors often experience many feelings and barriers prevent them from disclosing the sexual violations they have experienced. Many have the feeling they cannot be victims and should deal with their emotions and trauma on their own, due to societal stereotypes about gender and sexual identity.
- Challenges when navigating services which are provided in a hetero-normative context.
- Distrust regarding service providers who may be homophobic.
- Fears about “outing” oneself and the potential consequences.
- Limited safe LGBTQIA+-specific or LGBTQIA+-friendly resources.
- Fear of retaliation by perpetrator, their community, and/or the potential of hate crimes.
- Feeling alone or fearing others will judge or misunderstand you.
Sexual violence can happen between individuals of the same and/or different gender identities, and sexual orientations. Individuals who identify as part of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Pansexual, Transgender, Genderqueer, Queer, Intersexed, Agender, Asexual, and Ally community (LGBTQIA+)
The list below is comprised of many gender and sexual identities. However, this list is not limited to the identities list below:
- Gender Queer
- Gender Variant
CMSAC is committed to providing services honors all gender identities and sexual orientations within our diverse communities. LGBTQIA+ individuals who have experienced sexual violence may face different or additional challenges in accessing legal, medical, law enforcement or other resources than other populations who have experienced sexual violence. CMSAC Staff, Advocates and SANE’s (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners) have participated in Safe Space training to educate themselves regarding obstacles faced by LGBTQIA+ individuals in everyday life, as well as to learn better techniques for creating safer environments wherein everyone feels respected and comfortable through their individual healing processes.
If you are a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, you may be nervous in seeking medical attention for a sexual assault. However, health care is often the first step to healing for many survivors. If you are interested in seeking medical attention, you deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. You may reference local hospitals and other medical resources here: https://cmsac.org/education-safety-reporting/
Effects of sexual violence
Sexual assault is never the victim’s fault, and no one deserves to be sexually assaulted. Gender identity and/or sexual orientation never justifies any sexual violation.
- Loss of control over your own life.
- Fear of the perpetrator.
- Loss of trust.
- Experiencing nightmares and/or flashbacks.
- Anxiety/panic attacks.
- Guilt, shame, and self-blame.
If you are a loved one of an LGBTQIA+ survivor of sexual assault, it is important to remember the survivor may be experiencing many different emotions. Following an assault, remind your loved one you are there for them and are willing to support them. Everyone’s healing journey is different, and we must support everyone unconditionally.
- You are not alone.
- It was not your fault.
- There is hope and support for you.
- No one deserves to be sexually assaulted. Your gender identity and/or sexual orientation never justifies any sexual violence against you.
- Take pride in who you are!
Did you know…
We are so excited and honored to announce we will be receiving a grant from Otto Bremer Trust (OBT) to build community relationships, develop education, and provide direct services tailored to LGBTQIA+ and male victim/survivors of sexual abuse/assault. CMSAC is committed to providing services honoring all identities and sexual orientations within our diverse communities.
We cannot wait to see what our next year brings us!
Thank You Otto Bremer Trust!
**OTTO BREMER TRUST (OBT), BASED IN ST. PAUL, MN, IS A PRIVATE CHARITABLE TRUST ESTABLISHED IN 1944 BY FOUNDER OTTO BREMER. OBT HAS INVESTED MORE THAN $600 MILLION IN ORGANIZATIONS THROUGHOUT MINNESOTA, NORTH DAKOTA, AND WESTERN WISCONSIN. FOR MORE INFO, PLEASE VISIT OTTOBREMER.ORG