Safe Space

SAFE SPACEPeople who identify as LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) experience sexual violence at higher rates than people who are cis-gender (people whose gender identity aligns with what the gender they were assigned at birth) and heterosexual.

Members of the LGBTQ+ community face additional barriers to reporting and/or seeking/receiving services. Due to a combination of societal norms that depict rape as an act perpetrated by cis-gender heterosexual men against cis-gender heterosexual women, the historical criminalization of the LGBTQ+ community by law enforcement, difficulty with healthcare providers, and society’s hypersexualization of the LGBTQ+ community, individuals are less likely to report instances of violence. In addition, some LGBTQ+ people face the additional concern that they will be forced to come out to family, friends, and service providers, and we know that it is not always possible or safe for LGBTQ+ people to come out.

Maine’s sexual assault support centers and allied organizations have come together to build capacity of Maine’s sexual assault support centers to better serve LGBTQ survivors of sexual violence. MECASA’s LGBTQ+ Advisory Board supports agency collaboration on statewide efforts including Safe Space, which is a cross-training designed to offer sexual assault support centers the tools to create a welcoming and inclusive space for survivors of sexual violence for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community. Other efforts include LGTBQ+-specific support groups and outreach and awareness campaigns.

Thank you to our partners in these efforts:

Downeast AIDS Network and Health Equity Alliance
Maine Family Planning
Maine Trans Net
Outright LA
SAGE Maine
Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine (SARSSM)
Sexual Assault Support Services of Midcoast Maine (SASSMM)
University of Southern Maine Center for Sexualities and Gender Diversity
Maine’s Sexual Assault Support Centers

Sample Safe Space Materials

Recommendations for Creating a Welcoming and Inclusive Agency
This document provides concrete recommendations and ideas to explore for how to make your agency more LGBTQ+ friendly.

Therapist Screening Guide
This resource provides LGTBQ+ survivors of sexual violence with questions to ask, a self-reflection checklist, and a list of other considerations when looking for a therapist. It was developed by the FORGE and adapted by MECASA’s LGTBQ+ Advisory Board.