We need to talk: Lesbian violence against other women
Violence knows no gender. Though we’ve always championed the cause of our fellow lesbians, the truth also has to be told about lesbian violence.
This is because lesbians can also inflict violence as much as the next person. Our sexuality doesn’t make us immune from the dark side inherent in any human being.
The sad implication here is that lesbians can– and do– inflict violence on their fellow women. It isn’t always the men.
Lesbian violence: It’s not just a straight issue
Women tend to trust other women– including lesbians– more than men. For most women, lesbians are harmless, extreme contrast of men.
More than this, most people believe that rape is a man’s issue. America cried foul over numerous straight sexual assaults too many times– especially in the ‘80s– that it’s become the stereotype.
Who would think that a lesbian is capable of violating the sexual right of other women?
Take the case of Alaina, who told her story to Marie Claire: she was drugged at a dorm party in her college and she later realized she was raped by a female student.
She wanted to bury the encounter as simply a bad dream. But rumors of the rape started going around the campus and she had to report it.
“The officer who spoke with me didn’t even think to ask the gender of my assailant until I gave her the name. A girl’s name,” she said.
Lesbian violence: Confusion and isolation
While it’s not every day that a woman is reported raped by a woman, it does happen. And when it does, because it doesn’t fit the usual narrative of gender violence, survivors feel even more confused and alone.
“Female-on-female sexual violence is no less violating,” said Brooke Axtell, the Director of Communications and Survivor Support for Allies Against Slavery and the founder of Survivor Healing and Empowerment.
Axtell added that “it can be even more confusing and disorienting because it does not fit into the traditional social script of what qualifies as sexual assault.”
Most women who were sexually assaulted by women have trouble understanding the event, especially if this happened when they were children or the violence came from their partners.
Sadly, our culture is uneducated when it comes same-sex rape. Liza, who was raped by a female cousin at age 11 told Broadly: “There was absolutely no language I could attach to it. It didn’t fit anything I knew.”
Likewise, Angela Esquivel– rape crisis counselor and founder of the As One Project, an organization that provides support to survivors– noted that “same-sex couples are not immune to those power imbalances or abuses of power that occur within relationships.”
“There are women who have as much of an issue with power and control and relationships as there are men,” Esquivel said.
Because of this, it’s harder for them to heal. It’s harder for them to have closure. There isn’t much company they can seek with the same experience.
We need to remember that greed for power and control over women has no gender.