Research Shows Trans Women Of Colour In Australia Are Particularly Vulnerable To Sexual Assault

Trans women of colour were twice as likely to report having been sexually assaulted ten or more times.

Trans Day Of Remembrance

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Research has confirmed that trans women of colour living in Australia are more likely than other women to report being assaulted by a stranger.

The intersection of their gender and racial identities make transgender women of colour huge targets for discrimination and violence. They are also twice as likely to report having been sexually assaulted ten or more times.

The research, from Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS), shows there are very few places where trans women of colour are safe from abuse.

It found they are subject to pervasive violence both inside and outside the home — and worryingly, often receive negative responses from services that should be available to help them.

“(I) cannot access women’s sexual assault services because I’m transgender. And the other straight women will be afraid that I’m a perpetrator,” study participant Fiona said.

The comparative study looked at trans women’s experiences of sexual violence compared to other women, including lesbian, bisexual and queer women, and straight women.

The majority of women who reported sexual assault had experienced it more than once.

But trans women’s lived experiences of sexual violence are often overlooked in national statistics on sexual violence against women.

The report also shows the needs of trans women are still poorly understood by many healthcare providers and policymakers.

ANROWS CEO Dr Heather Nancarrow said we must have zero tolerance of sexual violence against any woman.

“This research demonstrates that the absence of culturally competent information and knowledge about transgender experience, accompanied by misinformation, can lead to stigma, prejudice and discrimination,” she said.

“This results in unmet health and justice needs for trans women.”

The research was led by Professor Jane Ussher at Western Sydney University.