Every April, we observe National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. For our part, the CDC Injury Center’s year-round goal is to stop sexual violence before it begins.
Sexual violence is defined as a sexual act committed or attempted by another person without freely given consent of the victim or against someone who is unable to consent or refuse. According to CDC research, in the United States:
- One in five women and one in 71 men have been raped in their lifetime.
- Most victims of rape knew their perpetrators.
- Nearly one in two women and one in five men have experienced other forms of sexual violence (such as unwanted touching, threats of sexual violence, verbal sexual harassment, etc.) at some point in their lives.
Statistics underestimate the extent of this public health problem since many victims do not tell the police, family, or friends about the violence. The numbers also do not reveal the entire story of physical, psychological, and social effects of sexual violence.
Knowing some of the factors that increase the risk that a person will commit sexual violence can help identify the opportunities for prevention.
What are Sexual Violence Risk Factors?
Risk factors are contributing factors and may or may not be direct causes of sexual violence. A combination of individual, relational, community, and societal factors can contribute to the risk of becoming sexually violent, but not everyone who is identified as “at risk” does so.
|Individual Risk Factors||Relationship Risk Factors|
|Community Risk Factors||Societal Risk Factors|
Sexual violence can have harmful, lasting consequences for victims, families, and communities. If you are or someone you know is a victim or is at risk for being sexually violent, get help by contacting:
- The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE for free, confidential help 24/7, or
- Local emergency services at 9-1-1.
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|Together, we can change social norms so that one day we will end sexual violence. In the comments section below, take the time to share what you are doing to prevent sexual violence.|