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How to Support LGBTQ Victims and Survivors of Sexual Violence 

Guide Length: Short

Supporting LGBTQ victims and survivors and being there for them as they navigate the complexities of life after trauma is a crucial aspect of collective healing. Whether you are part of the LGBTQ community or not, it remains vital to provide a safe and empathetic space for those whose paths may diverge from your own. Learn about ways to show your support for survivors within the LGBTQ community below.

  • Listen without judgment. When a victim or a survivor chooses to share their experience, lend them an empathetic ear. Create a safe space for them to speak openly without fear of blame or shame. Remember, their feelings are valid and their experience deserves to be heard.
  • Learn about ways to be an ally: Even if you already identify as a member of the LGBTQ community, it’s still important to hold space for those whose journey differs from your own. Allyship is about learning from others and supporting them.
  • Respect autonomy. Empower survivors to make decisions that are right for them. Offer support, resources, and information, but allow them to reclaim a sense of control over their lives and healing process.
  • Be Available. Healing is not linear and isn’t confined to a schedule. Let survivors know you’re there for them whenever they need to talk or simply have someone present.
  • Offer resources. Familiarize yourself with local LGBTQ-friendly and survivor support resources. Offer to help them find professional counseling, support groups, or hotlines like RAINN and The Trevor Project.
    • National Sexual Assault Hotline: Operated by RAINN, the National Sexual Assault Hotline (NSAH) provides free, confidential support 24/7 by phone (800.656.HOPE) in English and Spanish.
    • The Trevor Project’s trained counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386 via chat, or by texting START to 678-678.
  • Be patient. Healing takes time. It’s a journey of progress, setbacks, and triumphs. Patience is a gift you can offer by consistently being there without pressure or judgment.
  • Celebrate resilience. As survivors take steps toward healing, celebrate their victories — no matter how small. Acknowledging their strength can help them see their progress and continue moving forward.

As a loved one of a survivor or a victim of sexual violence, your support after disclosure can be crucial in the healing process. Standing beside and supporting LGBTQ victims and survivors, through the challenges and triumphs of life after trauma, is an important component in healing together. Even if you already identify as a member of the LGBTQ community, it’s still important to hold space for those whose journey differs from your own. 

If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, it’s not your fault. You are not alone. Help is available 24/7 through the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE and, y en español

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