Domestic abuse and sexual violence affects women worldwide and these rates have only increased since the COVID-19 pandemic began months ago. Many people are locked down or isolated with abusers, or have been placed in vulnerable positions. The added daily stress, including job loss and financial insecurity that many are facing has created situations where abusers are even more prone to attacking or increasing this type of violence.
For Pride Month this year, we want to discuss the dangers that the LGBTQ+ community faces when it comes to assault and sexual violence. While there is most definitely a dearth of Canadian statistics available on abuse committed against LGBTQ+ people, existing research points toward a sobering fact: those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, face much greater risks of domestic and intimate partner violence than heterosexual people.
Rachel Loewen Walker, the Executive Director at OUTSaskatoon believes one of the greatest reasons for the increase in sexual violence against LGBT people in general really comes down to wanting to control people’s sexuality. Additionally, LGBTQ+ young people who haven’t yet “come out” are often in precarious situations where they want to come out in order to find support and community, but know that this new visibility also comes with a greater likelihood of experiencing violence.
This particular threat is very real for young people. Bisexual women are most at risk of becoming victims of assault - they are seven times more likely to experience sexual assault than straight women. To further compound this serious issue, many of those who have been victimized do not report the incident for fear of having to come out, ether to their parents, friends, or the police officers themselves. If they are not ready to come out, they will likely not share their story of abuse.
Today, in support of Pride Month in Canada, we are sharing statistics that show how the LGBTQ+ community faces much greater risks of intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and violence. We must change this. Not only is there a strong educational component required, we also need to begin collecting statistics and research related specifically to LGBTQ+ people so that we can then provide better support and services.
At NFF, we will continue educating others and advocating for all women and children who experience abuse, including the LGBTQ+ community
Do you have a story you would like to share in the hopes of helping others? Please view our collection of personal stories and get in touch if you would like to share your story. All submissions are private.
Canadian Labour Congress, 2014
Conroy, S. and A. Cotter. 2017. "Self‑reported sexual assault in Canada, 2014." Juristat. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 85‑002‑X.
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