Gender Identity and Sexual Violence

On day 8 of 16 days of activism, the focus is on how sexual/gender identity influences the experience and processing of sexual violence. We received varying responses from the LGBTQ+ community. These stories are presented unedited in their original form. These are anonymous accounts of people’s lived experiences. 

“I guess the real problems here may arise when the balance of power”

I am a 27 y.o., European, openly-gay, single guy and I have never experienced any form of sexual violence. 

If I ever was asked about sexual violence within the LGBT+ community, I could only talk about the gay community, which I consider less prone to suffer this kind of abuse than transsexual individuals for example. It corresponds to a cultural vision of a balance of power, as the relations are established between two men and is fed by a patriarchal heritage. It does not mean gay men are not victims of sexual abuse or are not at risk though.

As an active user of dating apps, there have been times in which I have met guys for the first time at their places for the common goal of having sex. All my experiences went well, no sexual abuse involved, as relations were consented both ways. However, I understand the risks on it. I guess the real problems here may arise when the balance of power I was talking about does not exist anymore. I could think of age gaps relations, in which one is younger and, therefore, less experienced and more insecure about what he wants or not. Hence, the younger man would agree on things he may not be wanting 100%.

I feel like sexual violence in gay relations is still a taboo, as I don’t know any situation in my closer environment that I could explain of. However, if it ever happens to me or someone I know, I am sure I would ask for help first from my family and friends, and later through legal instruments. 

“Sexual violence is sexual violence.”

 I’m 25 years old, gay. Personally, I don’t think that sexual identity/sexuality has any connection on how one perceives sexual violence. Sexual violence is sexual violence. It’s an act of invading one’s most inner privacy and personal space. It’s about the use of force, of not asking for consent. Therefore, it doesn’t matter whether one is attracted to the same or to the opposite gender. Sexual violence is about transforming something that should bring pleasure to both parties into a long-lasting trauma.

“I feel safer with women when I engage in any sexual activity.”

23 years old, Asian bi-sexual woman, My sexual identity plays an important role in how I perceive sexual violence. As a bisexual woman, I have always felt comfortable being in relationships with women, even though I am equally attracted to men romantically, physically and sexually. Also, I feel safer with women when I engage in any sexual activity  because I have less fear of getting even getting impregnated or STD’s STI’s (though taking precautions for such infections are always better). SV for LGBTQI+ is high in many countries if you’re openly out, however, I have not yet come out of closet (especially with my family members), hence, I have never had such experiences of SV at a personal level. 

“I became more careful and wary to any male around me. “

I’m female, 26 years old, from Vietnam. The incident happened when I was 2nd year of univeristy when I joint in a volunteer trip with my faculty. At that moment, I identify myself as straight (now, I know I am bisexual). 

The person was male, around 40 years old, has a family which run a small grocery store in the village near Hanoi that I did volunteer work. The man tried to lead me to the storage room and touch my sensitive part when I asked to use their bathroom (which was very frequently in small village, you have no public rest room). Luckily, I escaped, but felt so scared because no one was there. 

After that, I told my friend and the story just stopped there. I had not called the police or any help from the authorities because at that moment, I was so scare and dont know what to do. I told my mom when I was home and she asked why I did not call the police or why I went there alone to put myself in danger situation. I just feel stupid and scare. I also angry because the man was wrong, not me. 

Until now, I’m ok but somehow I became more careful and wary to any male around me. 

I do not think it differs from non-LGBTQ sexual violence cuz perpetrators use sexual violence to strengthen their power, it’s not only about your sexual orientation or identity, it’s about their lack of power feeling and complexed reasons. 

These views are held by the people recounting their personal stories and are not the views of the MSAAW Foundation. If you would like to retell your own experience, reach out to us at msaaw.in