When women are raped by women

Marie Claire (US), Mar 30 2016

Sexual assault is perceived as a straight issue, perpetrated by men against women. Thanks in part to the battered women’s movement of the 1980s and the growing awareness of the current rape culture in the United States—from assaults on college campuses to abuse within relationships—we’ve been hearing a predominantly heterosexual story. But there’s a scenario that, while less frequent, is no less damaging to the victims it claims: rape between women.

Since this scenario is rarely portrayed in the media or in educational programming, it can be especially challenging for victims to identify their experience as violence. Many people have a difficult time believing that a woman could be capable of inflicting violence on another person. These gender norms can directly contribute to distrust of a victim’s claims. Survivors are trapped in a cycle that delegitimizes their experience.

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Domestic and family violence and homelessness in Australia

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), December 2015

Key findings

  • 187,000 (or one-third) of the 520,000 Australians who accessed specialist homelessness services (SHS) between 2011–12 and 2013–14 were adults and children seeking assistance for reasons of domestic and family violence.
  • The complexity of domestic and family violence situations requires continued support over long time periods. Domestic and family violence clients received, on average, more days of support than other SHS clients (136 days compared with 92 days of support, respectively).
  • Almost 1 in 4 domestic and family violence clients recorded more than 300 days of support between their first and last support periods. By comparison, this level of support was provided to less than 1 in 5 other SHS clients.
  • Family and domestic violence clients were more likely than other SHS clients to request accommodation services. Where short term accommodation was requested, family and domestic violence clients were more likely to have that request met than other clients (82% compared with 61%, respectively).
  • Between 2011–12 and 2013–14 the proportion of domestic and family violence clients moving into public and community housing increased from 14% to 22%.
  • However, 20% of domestic and family violence clients ended their support with no shelter, couch surfing or no tenure and a further 20% were in short term accommodation.

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