NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — For pride month, hundreds of people are showing their support for the LGBTQ community. It's also a time to raise awareness. The LGBTQ community experiences sexual violence at similar or higher rates than straight and cisgender people.
Clinical therapist Alexandra Damiano with the Sexual Assault Center explains that 44 percent of lesbians and 61 percent of bisexual women experience rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner.
That's compared to 35 percent of heterosexual women. When it comes to those who are transgender, 47 percent will be sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime. Sadly, many of these incidents will go unreported because they are afraid.
"Folks are sometimes blamed for their own sexual assault or because they are LGBT they asked for this to happen to them," said Damiano, "reporting these types of crimes can be scary for these folks because they might run into providers who may be homophobic or trans-phobic."
Damiano says we need to continue breaking down the stigma surrounding the LGBTQ community and let them know we are allies.
"We’re seeing a widespread of homophobia and trans-phobia is making people more vulnerable to sexual violence and making it harder for them to find services after the assault," said Damiano.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, there are LGBTQ-friendly resources. Feel free to contact the Sexual Assault Center's Crisis & Support line: 1-800-879-1999.