Welcome to today’s edition of The V Word.
I am sure all you have heard about the assault on two transgender women on a train. They were harassed, beaten and one was stripped. People watched … laughed…cheer… and … no one intervened. If a heterosexual and cis-gendered woman was stripped naked probably people would have helped.. well….probably. Anyone thinking this hasn’t happened in Virginia? It has … three years ago in Fredericksburg, VA, where a transgendered woman was assaulted outside a store by three individuals. Again with the laughing and watching by bystanders… only someone who knew her came to help. I was working in Fredericksburg at the time and only three agencies showed support… the anti-violence agencies of course…. No one else…
It’s hard to understand why people didn’t help, just watched and even cheered. We as a society are making gains in getting bystanders to intervene in accidents, in issues involving children, and yet this rarely happens with sexual or domestic violence and does not happen with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Queer individuals. Are we that afraid? Are we still that phobic about sexual minorities that we do nothing to help them? Nothing?
This month I am giving a nod to the Queer community and talking about interpersonal and sexual violence within that population. You can go to virginiaavp.org for more information, events, and help…
Sexual and gender minorities are considered to be at the highest risk for sexual and interpersonal violence and yet have the fewest resources available. Seriously, just how far can we go to marginalize a person or a group?
Well pretty far actually….
- Aside from all the usual negatives survivors of rape, sexual assault, or interpersonal violence get to experience, if you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer – you get a few more negatives and a lot more isolated… …
- You get to feel shame over your sexual orientation or your gender identity.
- You get to feel fear over asking for help because it may out you or you may be rejected from the provider or agency that is supposed to help you.
- You get to have threats of being outed –
- As we still live in a very conservative country regarding gender and sexual identity, this can be a significant threat to keep an LGBTQ victim of violence from reporting.
- You get to experience threats of actions to take children away or actually have them removed because of lack of parental rights.
I am a survivor of sexual assault and interpersonal violence and I experienced a lot of negatives that still impact me years later. But one thing I did not have to experience is my abusers using societal fear and hatred of my sexual and gender identity to stop me from reaching out to others.
Isolation from family, friends, even the Queer community itself makes it harder for a survivor to navigate medical, legal, and mental health resources and impact healing.
Being raped and abused is bad enough, living in a society where radio hosts and journalists make fun of rape is bad enough, but to add hatred of you because of how you identify, because you are you basically…..are we as a society not ashamed?
For help or information? Here are some options…
Call 911 if you have been assaulted and go to the closest Emergency Department.
For information on how to report sexual or domestic violence in the Richmond, Virginia, USA are, you can call the non-emergency line at 804-646-5100 or go by a local police station office. The main Richmond office is located at 200 West Grace Street. The number again is 804-646-5100
For those in Virginia who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, and queer or questioning, you can access a free and confidential telephone service called The LGBTQ Partner Abuse and Sexual Assault Helpline at 1.866.356.6998 Monday through Friday, 8 am to 8 pm for help regarding intimate partner abuse, sexual assault, and stalking. The Virginia Anti-Violence Project at virginiaavp.org stands ready to work with anyone who wants to address anti-LGBTQ violence in Virginia and to help build safe communities. The number again is: 1.866.356.6998.
For listeners from outside of Virginia: GLBT National Hotline @ 1-888-843-4565 or go to GLNH.org/hotline/
For help with counseling and advocacy, local rape crisis centers and domestic violence shelters can provide services. To find a center closest to you… you can call the Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238. That is the Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238.
Want to share a story or ask a question? Email me at thevword.radio(@)gmail.com or tweet me at my twitter account: @preventviolence. You can read the transcript for this show and past shows on my blog at http://www.thevword.org
The V Word is recorded in the studios of WRIR-LP 97.3, read and produced by me, Carol Olson.