Students belonging to the LGBTQ+ community report higher rates of sexual victimization while enrolled in college, but are statistically less likely to report an incident. The CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey found for LGB people:

  • 44 percent of lesbians and 61 percent of bisexual women experience rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner, compared to 35 percent of heterosexual women
  • 26 percent of gay men and 37 percent of bisexual men experience rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner, compared to 29 percent of heterosexual men
  • 46 percent of bisexual women have been raped, compared to 17 percent of heterosexual women and 13 percent of lesbians
  • 22 percent of bisexual women have been raped by an intimate partner, compared to 9 percent of heterosexual women
  • 40 percent of gay men and 47 percent of bisexual men have experienced sexual violence other than rape, compared to 21 percent of heterosexual men

Within the LGBTQ+ community, transgender people and bisexual women face the most alarming rates of sexual violence. Among both of these populations, sexual violence begins early, often during childhood. Transgender women respondents experienced sexual assault more often than their transgender male peers.

For LGBTQ+ survivors of sexual assault, their identities – and the discrimination they face surrounding those identities – often make them hesitant to seek help from police, hospitals, shelters or rape crisis centers, the very resources that are supposed to help them.

Southeast Missouri State University wants all students to feel supported and understands that a person of any gender or sexual orientation can be sexually assaulted. Although violence exists within LBGTQ+ communities, it is also important to understand that Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender, and Queer people are also targeted for sexual violence based on their sexual orientation, and all people, regardless of sexual orientation, can be targets based on their perceived gender expression. In these cases sexual violence is used as a form of control to maintain heterosexism.

Intimate Partner Violence

If you are being abused by an intimate partner of the same-sex, you may experience a broad range of feelings including denial, confusion, and shame. Women who have been assaulted by another woman may believe that it isn’t possible for a woman to rape another woman; that sexual assault is only perpetuated by men. In many cases, this stems from a belief that lesbian sex is not “real sex.” The misconception then follows that if lesbians aren’t considered able to have sex then they certainly cannot sexually assault one another. This is not true. Considering that men are taught from a young age that being vulnerable is a sign of weakness, gay men may have feelings of shame or inadequacy connected to being sexually assaulted that make them reluctant to admit or report their assault. In order to understand same-sex sexual assault and to work toward its prevention, it is important to acknowledge and commit to challenge homophobia and transphobia.

Common Barriers for Same-Sex Survivors

  • Not being taken seriously or having their experience minimized
  • Not having their experience called sexual assault or rape
  • Having to explain their experience in more detail than one would ask a heterosexual survivor or a survivor of male-female assault
  • Having to educate those they reach out to
  • Having their experience sensationalized
  • Increasing people’s homophobia or being seen as a traitor in their community because they told their story to straight people
  • Mistakenly being seen as the perpetrator
  • Being blamed for the assault
  • Not being understood
  • Being treated in a homophobic manner by police, hospital staff, rape crisis center, counselors and others
  • Being “outed” (having their sexual orientation revealed without their consent)
  • The University has resources for all students, and students that identify as LGBTQ+ can seek counseling at the following resources:

    Campus Life and Event Services: LGBTQ+ Education
    University Center, Room 204e
    (573) 651-2677

    Counseling and Disability Services
    Dearmont B1 Wing (East side)
    One University Plaza, MS 2030
    Cape Girardeau, MO 63701
    (573) 986-6191


    (573) 986-6899
    Dearmont B1

    Campus Violence Prevention Program
    One University Plaza, MS 3375
    Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701