Nearly 1 in 5 women in the United States will have experienced rape or attempted rape during their lifetime.
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), sexual violence is defined as any type of unwanted sexual contact. This can include words or actions of a sexual nature against a person’s will and without their consent. Consent is a mutual agreement to take part in sexual activity.
Unfortunately, survivors of sexual abuse often know the person who assaulted them. Studies also show that people who sexually abuse usually target someone they know — a friend, classmate, neighbor, coworker, or relative.
In 2005-10, about 55% of rape or sexual assault victimizations occurred at or near the victim’s home, and another 12% occurred at or near the home of a friend, relative, or acquaintance.
Together, we can change the conditions that contribute to sexual violence.
You can learn the facts about sexual violence and play an active role in changing misconceptions. Prevention starts with believing survivors when they disclose. In your personal life, you can model supportive relationships and behaviors and speak up when you hear sexist, racist, or homophobic comments.
If you are unsure of how to speak up, simply saying a statement like “I feel offended by you saying that” or simply expressing your discomfort with a matter would be a good way to start that conversation.
If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual violence, please contact the following:
National Sexual Violence Resource Center
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)
The National Domestic Violence Hotline