Our VOICE Statement on HB2

Our VOICE remains committed to our mission: “In the pursuit of a community that is free of sexual violence, Our VOICE serves all individuals in Buncombe County affected by sexual assault and abuse, through counseling, advocacy and education.” We believe that all people deserve to experience healthy sexuality and personal safety regardless of sex, gender identity or sexual identity.  We see sexual violence as a widespread public health threat with historical and cultural origins, rather than the isolated problem of a small margin of people. Sexual violence is one aspect of gender-based oppression and is inextricably linked to other forms of oppression. We also believe that sexual assault is a crime that is motivated by power and control of one over another.  We recognize that those with the least amount of power are more likely to experience sexual violence, yet less likely to seek out services.

As such, we would like to make clear our continued commitment to the transgender community, and all other marginalized communities, to provide services that will place victims of rape and sexual violence on the journey to becoming survivors.  Our VOICE would also like to make clear that we remain deeply committed to eliminating sexual violence in our communities by implementing strategies that address the root causes and social norms that contribute to sexual violence.  We will continue, among other things, to dismantle rape myths, conduct awareness events and focus on primary prevention education in our communities.

HB2 excludes individuals who identify as LGBTQ from legal protections, and does so while perpetuating rape myths.  A key argument for HB 2 was the prevention of sexual violence and the safe use of public bathrooms and locker rooms.  As a rape crisis and prevention center that has served the community since 1974, we are committed to and encourage community efforts to prevent sexual violence.  However, we cannot support prevention efforts that are based on misinformation, fear, and bigotry.

HB 2 perpetuates the myth that being transgender equates to being a sexual predator.  Just the opposite is in fact true:  transgender people are more likely to be victims of sexual violence as one in two transgender individuals have been sexually abused or assaulted sometime during their lives. Furthermore, sexual violence has been found to be higher in some subpopulations within the transgender community, such as youth, people of color, individuals living with disabilities, and homeless individuals.

We encourage you to share this with members in your community.  We encourage you to learn more about sexual violence and the transgender community. We encourage you to help create a community free of sexual violence for all individuals. To find out more on how you can get involved, visit our website atourvoicenc.org. If you or someone you care about could use support, please contact with us via our 24 hr. crisis line at 828-255-7576 or by coming to our office at 44 Merrimon Ave., Ste 1, Asheville, NC 28801.

To transgender individuals in our community impacted by sexual violence, Our VOICE would like to say to you that we believe you, it was not your fault and that you are not alone.  Our VOICE is a safe space where you can receive services without fear of discrimination. We will stand with you as you walk on your journey towards healing.

Sincerely,

Our VOICE, Inc. Board of Directors