Help a GLBT survivor

  • The survivor may be afraid that people who are supposed to offer help and support will be judgmental instead. These concerns can keep some GLBT survivors from seeking help.
    How you can help: The BARCC hotline counselors can help direct you to providers who are GLBT positive. You can offer to check out the skills, training, and experience of providers the survivor is considering.
  • The survivor may be afraid that (s)he will be rejected or misunderstood by people within the GLBT community which will make the hurt worse.
    How you can help: Help your friend or family member decide who to tell (and not to tell) about the assault. Choose people you think will be compassionate, supportive, and trustworthy. If the survivor is male it may be helpful for you to read about the specific concerns male survivors face.
  • Privacy is a main concern for many survivors. The fear of being publicly "outed" may add to this concern for a GLBT survivor.
    How you can help: Be sure to ask the survivor's permission before sharing any information that has been entrusted to you. Suggest that the survivor speak to someone in BARCC's legal advocacy program if they are thinking about reporting the incident to the police and have concerns about their privacy.
  • The survivor may feel like a traitor to his/her community if the perpetrator is also part of the community.
    How you can help: Understand that most sexual assault happens in the same racial, religious, family, or cultural group. This is common, and it is one of the reasons it is so hard to disclose sexual violence. Members of the community may have mixed feelings if the perpetrator is someone they also care about. In communities that are marginalized for any reason there can be extra pressure (by the survivor themselves or by the community) to keep quiet so that any stereotypes or stigma that may be associated with that community is not spotlighted.
  • The survivor may feel self-blame or self-hatred if the assault was a hate crime.
    How you can help: Perpetrators often try to exploit a victim's vulnerability and make the victim feel in some way responsible for the sexual abuse or assault. Tell your friend or family member that nothing can justify sexual violence.
  • If the survivor has experienced intolerance, hate, or other violence at an earlier time in life, a sexual assault can add to the pain of the past.
    How you can help: Understand that prior trauma is not uncommon and help the survivor anticipate challenges or issues that may resurface during times of stress.

More resources for GLBT survivors.

BARCC offers counseling services especially for members of the GLBT community and their supporters. We can also refer your friend or family member to other professionals with expertise that fits their needs.

At BARCC, all survivors are treated with respect and understanding.

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