April is Sexual Violence Awareness & Prevention Month (SVAPM), also commonly referred to as Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Month (SAAPM). We use the language “sexual violence” instead of “sexual assault” to better capture the wide-range of violence LGBTQ+ survivors disproportionately experience. SVAPM aims to raise awareness of what it means to be a survivor of sexual violence, the way our culture perpetuates beliefs about sexual violence, and how we can come together as a community to end and heal from this type of violence. 


SVAPM is especially important for our community because LGBTQ+ survivors are consistently left out of the conversation about sexual violence, despite the fact that we experience violence at disproportionately higher rates. Many of us are biased to assume that survivors of sexual violence are white, able-bodied, cisgender, heterosexual women and that instigators of violence are men. This abuse is painfully common, and, as such, is extremely important to talk about…in addition to the other stories of violence and abuse of power that don’t fit this model. Our conversations about sexual violence are not complete until we include the stories and experiences of queer & trans people, people of color (POC), people with disabilities, refugees, elderly people and all the many more people who hold marginalized identities in our society. Once we do that, we can begin deconstructing barriers to accessing services and support, and can start the process of creating more survivor-centered, healing communities. 

SVAPM is an important reminder to LGBTQ+ people that sexual violence is a community issue, and one that can have community solutions. There are many ways we can work towards these solutions, but here are some recommendations on places to start: educate yourself and have conversations about the intersections of white supremacy, misogyny, transphobia and sexual violence; challenge false assumptions about violence in the LGBTQ+ community (e.g. assumptions about who and who does not experience violence, what that violence looks like, and where it comes from); be intolerant of predatory behavior, violence, and/or abusive behaviors in your social circles and the wider community; practice consent in all aspects of your life;  and, this cannot be stressed enough, center survivors’ experiences in your understandings of sexual violence by believing all survivors and supporting their self-determination. 

Every survivor is on a different journey and, when supporting survivors, it’s important to understand that survivors’ are the experts of their own lives and they, more than anyone else, know what’s best for them. Many survivors do not feel safe accessing services after sexual assault and therefore it is important to listen to survivors and allow them to self-determine what steps, if any, would feel supportive. Here are some additional steps to take when supporting a surivor of sexual violence: 

  • Believe them
  • Be a good listener (try to minimize interruptions)
  • Validate the survivor’s feelings
  • Let survivor’s control their own lives and next steps (if any)
  • Respect survivors’ privacy
  • Offer to stay with them through the healing process
  • Take care of yourself
  • Refer them to an advocacy agency

(A more comprehensive list can be found at our website by clicking here)

Further resources and inspiration for SVAPM can be found below. The following quotes, images, articles, videos, and resources were curated by our SafeSpace Anti-Violence Program team with both LGBTQ+ survivors and allies seeking resources in mind. These resources represent a range of queer SVAPM-related materials and we hope that you all find something for yourself here. And please, if you are a queer survivor of violence and have something that has helped your healing, share it with our team by completing this form: https://forms.gle/q3SSrfZjCk35Dnma9 

Sending love to all LGBTQ+ survivors – y’all are not alone 💙 

As a systemic issue, sexual violence is a barrier to equality and autonomy. As a personal issue, sexual violence stays with survivors all life long. When we spend any time caring/advocating for, listening to and being in solidarity with survivors, we fundamentally improve the human race. It’s as simple and as complex as that.

Cameron Esposito

on why she’s passionate on ending sexual violence

“There is no timeline to recovery, you’re allowed to feel not okay or okay about what happened, even if it’s long after it happened or not long after it happened.”

:: Anonymous SVAPM Submission ::


If you’ve gone through it and you feel separated from yourself and you feel a stillness, almost a death inside your living body, know you are not alone. You are loved and necessary.

:: Anonymous SVAPM Submission ::

When the rest of my family of origin left me for having to deal with too much, when fair-weather friends abandoned ship as I was in recovery from sexual assault, SafeSpace was there and gave me the most human response possible. This community kept me alive. I am grateful.

:: Anonymous SVAPM Submission ::

Laverne Cox Shares Her #MeToo Story

“The idea of consent is something that men aren’t really clear about.”

I can line up these moments of violence, precariously as dominoes. Sometimes I worry they will all fall; knocking each other down, knocking me down. Sometimes they do. Violence left me hollow. It left me enraged. It left me desperately needing to leave a body I couldn’t trust. But most frustrating of all, violence left me too wounded to claim the space I needed in order to find fulfillment in the arms, heart, and body of a queer relationship.

Jennifer Patterson

author and editor of Queering Sexual Violence

Allies and advocates need to understand survivors need more than laws and statistics and hashtags and movements. We need more than foundations and benefits and organizations. In order to thrive, we require the capacity and spaces to heal as this terror cycles through our minds, memories, bodies and spirits. We need you to invest in education around consent, invest in education and community teach-ins dismantling toxic masculinity. We need to be given spaces and positions of leadership as trauma-informed individuals who see with more clarity now that we’ve been there. We need to do the opposite of shaming. We need you to be more inclusive of us in every space and place. Vote us in office. Give us that executive position. Buy from our businesses. Pay us to consult you.

:: Anonymous SVAPM Submission ::

Around and around they went, circling essential truths that no one wanted to look at directly, like the sun: Women could abuse other women. Women have abused other women. And queers needed to take this issue seriously because no one else would

Carmen Maria Machado

author of "In the Dream House"

…Know that queer sexual violence happens in youth lockup, immigration detention hold, our bedrooms and families, that the vision of the white, cis, straight, middle class non-sex working able-bodied ‘perfect victim’ is killing us… [Give us] space for our queer and trans brilliance and freedom dreams to breathe a future of true safety and justice into being.

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

poet, writer, educator and social activist

This Queer Author Probes How the Justice System Fails Sexual Assault Survivors

Édouard Louis talks living a politicized existence, and how the police use sexual assault survivors to perpetuate violence.

a queer survivor's guide to intimacy after sexual violence

Amidst the public recognition of the #MeToo Movement, support for survivors and their allies has blossomed nationally. I have seen amazing resources aiming to improving allyship, and I am so glad to see this literature on the rise. 

Did #MeToo Forget About Me?

I’m sure the #MeToo movement made many survivors of sexual violence feel less alone, but what about people like me?

Cruising in the Age of Consent

Gay men once developed codes to ensure safety in the hunt for sex. Can they help #MeToo do the same?

Would it be a queer thing to live in a world free from sexual violence? I think so. And by queer I mean transformative. I am ready for that queer feeling of embodied freedom. Are you? The queer thing would be a future where we don’t reproduce the systems of oppressions we are surviving right now. And I mean queer like the authors of this collection mean it, as a command. We must queer our days and queer our nights and queer our questions and queer our responses and most importantly queer our actions, QUEER!!! until the world we are experiencing is a world we recognize only from our wildest most luscious dreams.

Alexis Pauline Gumbs

co-founder of UBUNTU (a women of color/survivor led coalition to end gendered violence), co-editor of Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines

(CW: Rape and emotional outbursts)

Healing from Sexual Violence: How Friends and Family Can Help

Every 73 seconds, someone is sexually assaulted in the U.S., which means it’s likely that you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence.

Talking about sexual assault is hard. For many survivors, the reaction of the first person they disclose to, often a friend or family member, can have a huge effect on their healing process.