Family Violence & Rape Crisis Services (FVRC) works to promote peaceful homes, build safe communities, and empower individuals and families to heal from domestic and sexual violence. FVRC was founded in 1982 by local concerned community members to provide services to battered women and sexual assault victims in Chatham County. With this in mind, and as we work towards supporting the most marginalized in our community, we are committed to sexual violence prevention efforts that are informed by survivors and informed research.
The following is a statement from the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCCASA) about the recently passed HB 2 legislation. As a member agency of NCCASA and with a commitment to diversity and nondiscrimination, we support their statement.
[HB 2] overrides a recently passed LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance in Charlotte, prevents local governments from enacting a range of nondiscrimination and employment policies, and requires all public facilities, including schools, to allow restroom access only on the basis of “biological sex.” This bill specifically excludes LGBTQ people from legal protections and jeopardizes billions of dollars in federal funds that NC schools receive under Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination, including discrimination against transgender students.
A central argument in this case was about the prevention of sexual violence and the use and safety of public bathrooms. NCCASA is deeply committed to the prevention of all sexual violence, and it is essential that any efforts to do so are rooted in fact. What we know to be true is that the majority of sexual violence is perpetrated by someone the victim knows in a familiar place, rather than by a stranger in a public place. 200 cities across the nation have protections in place similar to the Charlotte ordinance, and none of them have reported an increase in sexual violence related to these protections.
On the other hand, physical and verbal assaults on transgender people in public bathrooms are not rare, and over 50% of transgender people have experienced sexual violence. We cannot end sexual violence unless we are committed to ending sexual violence for all people. What will actually prevent and end sexual violence is for us to create a culture in which respect for the identities and bodily autonomy of others is a deeply held value. Policies prohibiting discrimination based on one’s sexuality and gender identity, like the one passed in Charlotte, are a positive step toward ending sexual violence.
FVRC maintains a commitment to providing excellent and culturally competent services to survivors of all genders, including support for survivors of gender-based or trans-phobic sexual harassment for LGBTQ survivors of sexual violence. If you or someone you care about could use support, please get in touch with us via our 24-Hour Help Line or by coming to our offices.