Call for participants: PhD research project exploring sexual and gender minorities’ experiences of sexual violence and access to sexual violence support services.
It has been reported that sexual and gender minorities may experience higher rates of sexual violence throughout their lifetime compared to cis and/or heterosexual individuals (Field and Rowlands 2020). Despite this, sexual and gender minority survivors of sexual violence have frequently been left out of discussions surrounding sexual violence. Instead, the public story of sexual violence centres stereotypical ideas of victimhood which are rooted in heteronormative and cisnormative assumptions.
This public story of sexual violence holds a narrow focus on heterosexual, cis women as the ‘typical’ victims of sexual violence. As a result, sexual violence support services are, more often than not, tailored towards cis, heterosexual women, resulting in the unique needs of sexual and gender minority survivors being ignored or discounted by such services.
My research centres individuals’ whose identities have been underrepresented within the public discourse surrounding sexual violence. Hence, it takes a self-identifying approach, and welcomes the participation of any individual who identifies as a lesbian, bisexual, or queer woman, or non-binary, agender, or gender-variant person (please see my participation flyer below for more details on participation requirements).
My research explores these survivors’ experiences of sexual violence, as well as their access to sexual violence support services. So far, the literature on the topic has pointed towards a number of barriers in the way of support for LGBTQ+ survivors. These barriers include: a lack of awareness from services about the specific forms of sexual violence faced by sexual and gender minorities; survivors fearing discrimination from service providers on the basis of their sexual and/or gender identity; survivors not knowing that services are LGBTQ+ inclusive. My research aims to uncover what more can be done to ensure that these barriers are removed, to promote guidelines on best practice for services supporting sexual and gender minority survivors.
Additionally, I am recruiting providers of sexual violence support to participate in interviews. These interviews will focus on the inclusion of sexual and gender minority survivors within services. I am particularly keen to hear from providers of LGBTQ+ specific services as well as women-only support services.
Field, M. and Rowlands, J., 2020. Commissioning for Inclusion: Delivering services for LGBT+ survivors of domestic abuse. Galop, LGBT+ anti-violence charity, London, UK.