Sexual violence is sexual activity when consent is not obtained or freely given. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is a serious public health issue in the U.S. that impacts survivors' lifelong health, opportunity, and well-being.

Sexual violence is a widespread crime suffered worldwide by individuals of all ages, races, ethnicities, socioeconomic statuses, gender identities, sexual orientations, and geographic locations.

It is suffered disproportionately by women of color, individuals with disabilities, and individuals who identify as LGBTQI. It is, unfortunately, one of the most underreported crimes and is associated with numerous negative health and economic outcomes for survivors.

Most rapes are committed in dark alleys by strangers. The majority of rapists are known to the survivor and assaults often occur in locations familiar to the survivor and/or rapist.
Rape is motivated by uncontrollable sexual desire. Rape is a violent crime of power and control in which sex is used as a weapon to harm and humiliate.
If the survivor was dressed provocatively or intoxicated or high, it’s her/his fault. It is never the survivor’s fault, no matter what s/he was or was not doing or wearing. No one ever asks for or deserves to be raped.
Women often lie about being raped. Very few reported rapes are false – about 4% – which is consistent with the false reporting rate for most other felony crimes.
If the survivor didn’t resist or struggle, then it wasn’t rape. There are many reasons a survivor may not (or cannot) resist, including fear, being overpowered, or being incapacitated.
Only gay men rape other men. Most males who rape other males identify as heterosexual. Rape is about power and control, not sexual desire or orientation.
Rape cannot happen in same-gender relationships. Males can rape other males, and females can rape other females, whether in an intimate relationship, acquaintances, or strangers.
Prostitutes can’t be raped; someone engaging in risky sexual behavior is to blame if s/he is raped. Regardless of a person’s sexual history or behavior, if s/he did not consent, it is rape. A sex worker or any individual can be raped by someone with whom s/he had prior consensual sexual contact.

Adult Sexual Violence

  • 1 out of every 6 American women have been the victim of attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8% completed, 2.8% attempted)
  • Approximately 3% of American men, or 1 in 33, have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime
  • The 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey found that 47% of transgender people are sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime
  • Only 344 out of every 1,000 sexual assaults are reported to police, meaning 2 out of 3 sexual assaults go unreported

Childhood Sexual Violence

  • A majority of child survivors are 12-17 years of age. Of those under the age of 18, 34% of survivors of sexual assault and rape are under the age of 12 and 66% of survivors of sexual assault and rape are age 12-17
  • One in 9 girls and 1 in 52 boys under the age of 18 are sexually abused by an adult
  • 82% of all victims under the age of 18 are female
  • 93% of perpetrators are known to the victim

Campus Sexual Violence

  • 11.2% of all college students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation (undergraduate and graduate students)
  • 21% of TGQN (transgender, genderqueer, nonconforming) college students have been sexually assaulted compared to 18% of non-TGQN females and 4% of non-TGQN males
  • Only 20% of female student survivors, age 18-24, report to law enforcement
  • More than 50% of college sexual assaults occur in either August through November
  • Students are at an increased risk during the first few months of their first and second semesters in college.

Statistics from

For more information about sexual violence, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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