Woman to Woman Sexual Violence

Lori Girshick, Warren Wilson College

Based on a nationwide study using questionnaires and phone interview of lesbians, and bisexual women who have experienced sexual violence by a female perpetrator, this paper will discuss the difficulty in discussing this violence. Foremost is the silencing most survivors face from both the lesbian community and the broader society -- as lesbians and as women. Denial that women are perpetrators is one aspect of the deep denial. Heterosexism in law has an enormous impact that also silences these women. The development of a feminist analysis that battering and rape are male behaviors has led to a lack of needed services by domestic violence and rape crisis agencies for lesbians. Even the lack of appropriate language to label these acts has hindered survivors in identifying what has happened to them. Case stories will be presented to demonstrate the different problems we have in facing woman to woman sexual violence.

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Updated 05/20/2006