Almost one in three gay men and bisexual say they’ve been a victim of sexual assault, abuse or rape.

A survey of 1,053 gay and bisexual men by FS magazine has shone a light on the shocking reality of sexual assault, rape and abuse within the LGBT community.

62% of the respondents stated that they had been touched sexually in a pub or club without their express permission.

Of the 30% of respondents who said they were survivors of sexual abuse, 78% of these men said they didn’t report it to the police or a support group.

64% of those who identified as survivors were were men between 17-34 years-old.

The survey also asked respondents questions about the nature of consent, and made some unnerving discoveries.

Almost one in four (24%) believe the nature of consent changes if you attend a sex party, sex club or chill out.

6% think that anyone at a chemsex party forgoes consent, while 14% think that anyone in a dark room forgoes consent.

The survey also asked respondents whethere they’d ever been in a situation where they didn’t want to have sex with someone but went through with it anyway. Over half (54%) said yes.

Meanwhile, 51% believe that consent can be given by a look or other non-verbal communication, and 52% believe that the gay community has an issue when it comes to consent.

One of the respondents, Zack, 27 from London, told FS that he was raped while on holiday.

“A guy walked me back to my hotel room while abroad and insisted on coming inside. I told him I just wanted to go to sleep, and I lay down on the bed and asked him to leave. He climbed on top of me and started trying to have sex with me,” he recalled.

 

“I didn’t struggle much, but I quite clearly said ‘no’ over and over again but he did it anyway. Although I know I clearly didn’t give consent it didn’t feel like rape. I felt like I led the guy on and I felt like it was my fault. I know that isn’t true, but that’s why I didn’t report it.”

Ian Howley, CEO of GMFA called for more action to tackle sexual assault in the gay community.

“Any form of sexual assault from groping to rape is unacceptable in our community and we need to take steps to stop it,” he said. “I think with all that has gone on in the news regarding sexual assault, it’s now time for the gay community to stand up against sexual assault too.

“We must do more to educate gay and bisexual men about what the basics of consent is.The fact that some gay men think it’s perfectly OK to grope someone in a bar is unacceptable. But also, we must do more to help the survivors of sexual assault feel empowered to report the incident and make sure they receive the help and support they deserve so they can move forward.

Ian adds: “No-one is to blame for sexual assault apart from the attacker. No-one asks to be assaulted either. We, as a community, need to tackle this issue and make gay and bisexual mean realise that consent is key and no means no.”

Read more about FS magazine’s findings here.

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