Sexual violence is any type of unwanted sexual interaction, ranging from personal attitudes and comments to sexual assault. Sexual violence is not a single act or situation—it is a series of nonverbal, verbal, and physical events that make people feel unsafe or afraid. Sexual violence thrives in silence and impacts everyday interactions.
A recent survey found that nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the United States have been raped at some time in their lives (Black et al., 2011). In the same national survey,
45% of women reported experiencing sexual violence other than rape during their lifetime.
– 34% of women reported experiencing non-contact unwanted sexual experiences during their lifetime.
– Of the 1 in 71 men who experienced a completed rape, 28% said that an assault happened before the age of 10.
– 12% of men have experienced unwanted sexual contact at some point in their lifetime.
The crucial first step is to acknowledge that sexual violence is a community problem, not an individual problem. We all share the responsibility of creating safer communities and promoting respect and consent. There are a number of ways communities can respond to and take steps to prevent sexual violence.
You can create a supportive space for survivors by:
You have the power to create change and support a survivor of sexual violence.