Abuse: Physical, Emotional & Sexual

By Dr Ruth McNair. Updated 13th October 2014

More than twice as many lesbian and bisexual women have experienced physical, emotional or sexual abuse than heterosexual women. The reason for this is not known, although contributing factors may include homophobia and increased levels of reporting of abuse by lesbian and bisexual women. These experiences do not ‘cause’ women to be lesbian, queer or bisexual, which is a common myth in the general community. Another common myth is that two women in a relationship could not be aggressive or violent towards each other. Intimate partner abuse (domestic violence) can happen and there are some specific resources available to support women through this.

It is important to find a health care provider to talk with about these experiences if they continue to affect your mental or physical health.
Support and information:

Women’s Circus
The Women’s Circus trains women in circus and physical theatre skills. It particularly engages with women who have survived sexual abuse and assists them to reclaim their bodies. In Victoria, approximately 150 women train with the Women’s Circus each year.


Centre Against Sexual Assault (CASA)
Information and counselling support for women who have been sexually abused, with centres in different states.

Domestic Violence Resource Centre, Victoria
Information for lesbians on violence and abuse in relationships

Domestic Violence in Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Relationships