Categories
Gender/ sexuality LGBTQ rights

Asexual people need the police. Here’s why.

Asexual ityflag
Image: iStock

 

Content warning: this post mention# sexual assault. If this is triggering for you, please proceed with caution.

Last week, LGBT+ Police UK put out a statement supporting asexual people.

This has caused a stir, with some journalists complaining.

So, is it important that police publicly support asexual people? Actually, yes, it is. Asexual people have faced a number of social issues that are rarely acknowledged.

Asexual people and sexual violence

Statistics have been hard to come by when researching this. However, some asexual women have reported being raped or sexually assaulted. Known as ‘corrective rape’, asexual women and lesbians, have been raped in order to ‘fix’ their orientation. According to Sarah Doa Minh, corrective rape happens in different parts of the world, including the U.S.

In her 2014 book, An Invisible Orientation, An Introduction to Asexuality, Julie Sondra Decker, recalled being indecently assaulted at the end of a date when she was nineteen. The date proceeded to kiss her without her permission.

Asexual people who get married also need to know they are protected as well. Marital rape is a crime in Western countries (as it should be). Asexual people need to know that they have a right to not be coerced and/ or raped by a spouse.

I haven’t found any data based on asexuals in Australia, which in itself, I find problematic. But going by what has happened overseas, it’s something that people need to be aware of.

Queerphobia and LGBT asexuals

Some asexuals are are attracted to the same – sex and/ or are transgender or gender non – binary. These individuals can face similar, if not the same prejudices and discrimination that other LGBT people face.

Asexual people with a same – sex partner may face the same issues when in public with their same – sex partner. Some may be harassed or violently attacked, like gay, lesbian and bisexual counterparts.

Other services need to get onboard

While it’s good that police departments are supporting asexual people, other community groups also need to get on board.

Too often, asexual people are disbelieved by mental health services. They may even have their lack of sexual attraction pathologised. As a result, real mental health issues may be minimised or ignored.

Mental health workers may not be sinister. They could just be misinformed, thinking it’s a fad, a symptom of a problem, or a phase that people ‘grow out of’. While not always malicious, these assumptions are unhelpful and asexual people looking for mental health support do not these misconceptions to add to and exacerbate real issues.

Homoromantic, biI ro mantic, pan romantic and transgender and gender non – binary people need to be able to find mental health services that can assist them too. I find it scary that since same – sex marriage has been legalised, state and federal politicians and lobby groups have pushed to have anti – discrimination laws back-pedalled. While it’s the argument has been used to protect, conservative cake bakers, there has been some push to allow counsellors to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people on religious grounds.

 

Like everyone else, asexual people will need access to different services. This means health, social services and law enforcement. The fact that a police department is willing to protect asexual people is quite comforting.

If you’re in Australia and you feel you need to get support, you can contact:

Lifeline: 13 11 14

1800 RESPECT: 1800 737 732

Or you can call 000 (or national emergency number) for emergencies.

If you’re from another country, feel free t9 comment with any contact details of services. In your area.

Categories
Opinion/Commentary

Revelations of Harvey Weinstein bring revelations of more harassment and assault

Woman holding hand up to stop attacker
Image: iStock

CW: sexual harassment, assault

The revelations about Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein has emboldened a number of women into opening up about their own experiences of sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape and other violence.

Social media has also been flooded with stories of sexual harassment and assault. The hashtag #MeToo on both Facebook and Twitter saw many men and women tell their own stories of harassment, abuse and rape. It’s also been used to shine a light about the need for consent:

 

It’s good that people are feeling strong enough to tell of their own stories. It’s also scary how prevalent sexual assault, sexual harassment and rape is. It’s horrible! How can this be so widespread? How has it ever been so widespread?

 

When I first wrote about the Weinstein scandal, I wondered how there wasn’t better protection and how abuse of power became so prevalent in the entertainment industry. Could the same be said for society in general? What can be done to combat this plague?

The actual purpose of this post was to give a shout out to women and men who found the courage to speak out about their own experiences of abuse and harassment. I can only imagine how hard that must be. I hope you get the support you need, if you haven’t already. To the rest of us, I think it is imperative to believe victims who speak out. We also need to demand that victims of sexual assault, rape and harassment get justice.

 

Exposing harassers and abusers is an important step. Changing attitudes about gender, sexuality and, most importantly in this context, power, is more important. Both men and women need to say enough is enough.

Everyone look up at link of the tweet I embedded earlier in this post. No means no! If someone doesn’t or can’t give consent, then, it’s a no! Don’t touch, don’t argue, don’t manipulate, nothing. If there is a power imbalance, then it’s a no! Don’t bribe, hassle, manipulate or threaten ANYONE into giving what sexual ‘favours’ you think you deserve but don’t! NO ONE owes you ANYTHING!

"Stop sexual harassment' sign
Image: iStock

A note to those who’ve experienced assault, harassment or rape: my heart bleeds for you. I want to give you a big hug. My prayer is that you find support, comfort and eventual healing. Nothing will be able to reverse what has happened. I hope you get some kind of peace of mind knowing that you DID NOT deserve what you experienced. It was in NO WAY your fault.

I want to also give a shout out to male survivors of sexual assault, rape or harassment. NONE OF IT was your fault. It doesn’t make you any less of a man. If anything happened to you that you didn’t or couldn’t have given consent to (i.e. you were under the age of consent or someone in power assaulted you), it is the perpetrators fault, not yours.

 

If anyone needs general counselling, you can call Lifeline: 13 11 14

NSW Rape Crisis: 1800 424 017. For more information from the website, click here.

For readers who are from overseas, please feel free to drop any contact details of any counselling or sexual assault/ harassment services that you know in your state/ country.