Statistics: Understanding sexual violence

When someone forces, manipulates, or coerces another person into sexual activity, they commit sexual violence. This happens any time a person does not or cannot give consent. Reasons someone might not be able to consent include:

  • Fear 
  • Illness 
  • Disability
  • Influence of alcohol or other drugs

Sexual violence includes a range of actions and behaviors. Some examples include: rape, child sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, and sexual harassment. 

Sexual violence happens to people of all ages, races, genders, sexual orientations, religions, abilities, professions, incomes, and ethnicities. It happens every day in our communities, schools, and workplaces.

  • Social inequality can increase risk. 
  • This is a gendered form of violence. About one in five women (18.3%) and one in 71 men (1.4%) in the U.S. have been raped at some time in their lives (Black et al., 2011). 
  • Violence starts young (Black et al., 2011)
  • 79% of female victims of rape report that they were first raped before age 25. 
  • 28% of male victims of rape report that they were first raped at age 10 or younger. 

For more information, see these fact sheets: What is Sexual Violence and The Impact of Sexual Violence.




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