The Role of Sexual Orientation in the Victimization and Recovery of Sexual Assault Survivors

Violence Vict. 2015;30(4):636-48. doi: 10.1891/0886-6708.VV-D-13-00066.


Few studies examine the sexual violence victimization and recovery of nonheterosexuals. Limited available research suggests that lesbian and bisexual women are at increased risk for sexual violence and experience more recovery problems following assault than heterosexuals. We examine differences by sexual orientation in victimization, recovery, and social reactions as well as whether racial differences relate to recovery in female sexual assault survivors (N = 1,863) from the community. Bisexual women emerged as a distinct group from heterosexual women with greater recovery problems and experienced greater impact of social reactions. Black sexual minority women also had more negative outcomes than White sexual minority women. Results suggest that differences in sexual orientation and race relate to poorer recovery, especially for survivors with multiple marginalized identities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bisexuality / psychology
  • Bisexuality / statistics & numerical data*
  • Black People / statistics & numerical data
  • Crime Victims / psychology
  • Crime Victims / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Homosexuality, Female / psychology
  • Homosexuality, Female / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Discrimination
  • Social Perception
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Survivors / psychology
  • Survivors / statistics & numerical data*
  • White People / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult