Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) community are not immune to sexual assault or sexual violence. In fact, victims who identify as LGBTQ are more likely to experience sexual violence in the form of hate-motivated crimes. They may also encounter challenges to post-sexual assault assistance because of biases against the LGBTQ community.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC stands by LGBTQ sexual assault victims in Illinois. We can help you go up against a perpetrator, your employer, a property owner, and/or other parties in pursuit of justice and compensation for sexual violence in Chicago. Learn your rights as a victim during a free consultation with one of our lawyers. Request a meeting today.
How Common is LGBTQ Community Sexual Assault?
Research is behind on sexual violence against LGBTQ individuals. Little remains known about the prevalence of intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and stalking among those in the LGBTQ community. That being said, a 2010 study found that LGBTQ people experience a significantly higher prevalence of sexual assault and rape compared to heterosexual people. Research suggests that around 50% of bisexual women and transgender people will suffer sexual violence during their lifetimes.
Researchers believe that the actual prevalence of LGBTQ community sexual assault may exceed what reports show. Many victims may not want to disclose their sexual orientation or identity during sexual assault reporting for fear of bias getting in the way of justice. One study found that victims are less likely to report sexual hate crimes based on orientation to the authorities, due to perceived anti-LGBTQ bias in the criminal justice system. Lack of reporting has led to little awareness concerning this significant issue.
Why Does LGBTQ Community Sexual Assault Happen?
LGBTQ community sexual assault occurs for many reasons. Assailants may engage in sexual violence for their own arousal or pleasure, as with non-LGBTQ victims. However, they may also attack because of homophobia or transphobia. Racism, misogyny, and ableism (discrimination toward people who are not able-bodied) can also contribute to the prevalence of LGBTQ community sexual assault. Sexual violence may be an attempt to oppress those in this community.
Defining Sexual Assault in Illinois
What is sexual assault? The definition of criminal sexual assault in Illinois is any act of sexual penetration after using force or the threat of force. An assailant is also guilty of criminal sexual assault if he or she commits an act of sexual penetration while knowing the victim is unable to understand what is happening or to give knowing consent. Illinois will elevate a sexual assault charge to aggravated sexual assault if the assailant uses a weapon, threat of death, or if the victim is under the age of eight or mentally incapacitated.
Examples of sexual assault or sexual violence include rape, sodomy, pressuring a child into sexual acts, exposing one’s genitals, incest, sexual abuse, and drug-facilitated sexual assault. Sexual assault can happen at home, at work, at school, in the doctor’s office, in jail, and many other places. If you feel frightened, threatened, or uncomfortable in your work environment because of LGBTQ sexual assault, you may be the victim of workplace sexual harassment.
What to do if You are the Victim of LGBTQ Community Sexual Assault
No matter when, where, or how you experienced sexual assault in Chicago, you have legal rights as a victim. Do not let your fear of encountering bias in the justice system prevent you from standing up for yourself. Find a strong advocate in a sexual assault attorney in Chicago. Hiring an attorney can help you go up against your perpetrator and others who failed to prevent or resolve sexual assault issues, such as an employer, a school, a hospital, or law enforcement officers.
First, go to the police with the incident. Report what happened, where you were, whom you were with, and any other details. Even if the police do not help, this will create a record of the event you can use later. Go to the hospital for a physical exam. Explain that you are the victim of sexual assault, and that you need doctors to collect evidence such as bodily fluids or photographs of injuries. As soon as you are able, contact an attorney. A lawyer will be by your side during the entire sexual assault claims process.
Contacting an attorney can relieve many emotions and challenges you may be experiencing as the victim of LGBTQ community sexual assault. Your lawyer will listen to your story, help you feel less alone, and support your rights moving forward. An attorney can file sexual assault claims against the assailant, as well as file claims for workplace sexual harassment/discrimination or negligent security. Your lawyer will help you file all available claims for your individual case.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC can Help
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC, we are advocates for the LGBTQ community in Illinois. Our lawyers can help you stand up against sexual assault perpetrators, employers, biased law enforcement officers, and others who contributed to your recent injuries. Trust us with your sexual assault case for a strong legal strategy. You may be eligible for compensation from the at-fault party or parties. Review your rights with an attorney today. Request a free consultation in Chicago.
- Sexual violence & individuals who identify as LGBTQ
- Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence
- LGBTQ Survivors of Sexual Violence
- Sexual Assault and the LGBTQ Community
- Information maintained by the Legislative Reference Bureau
- Illinois Definitions of Sexual Assault, Stalking, Domestic Violence, and Dating Violence