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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