Sexual Violence Among Adults
Sexual Violence includes any unwanted sexual contact whether it comes in the form or words, actions, or behaviors.
Some Forms of Sexual Violence
- Sexual assault
- Partner Abuse
- Child sexual assault
- Date and acquaintance rape
- Grabbing or groping without consent
- Sexting without consent
- Sexual Exploitation Commercial – like prostitution
- Sexual harassment
- Bullying based on sexual preferences or sexual orientation
- Unwanted Exposure and voyeurism
- Street Harassment
- Making unwanted sexual comments
- Offers of favors in exchange for sex
- Withholding promotions or pay based on sex
This by no means a complete list of the actions and/or behaviors that constitute sexual violence. Sexual violence among adults takes many forms.
Some forms of sexual violence are illegal, such as rape and incest. Others are not illegal, such as sexist and sexually violent jokes, street harassment and catcalling, but this does not make them any less threating or harmful to the person victimized.
Sexual violence has a tremendous impact on everyone. From the survivors and families of survivors to the community – everyone suffers because of sexual violence. Sexual violence happens to people of all ages, genders, races, ethnicities, religions, locations, abilities, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status.
Root causes of sexual violence include oppression in all its forms. But we can prevent it by working together as a community at every level–in our homes, neighborhoods, schools and workplaces. We all have a role to play in preventing sexual violence and setting norms of respect, safety and equality.
Understanding the Size of The Problem
- Every 68 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted.
- There are over 433,000 rape victims in America each year.
- Young Americans are at the highest risk for sexual violence.
- 90% of adult rape victims are women.
- 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men experience sexual violence in their lifetime.
- 1 in 2 transgender Americans will experience sexual violence.
- 2 in 5 gay men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.
- Only 2% of reported sexual assaults turn out to be false.
- Only 28% of sexual assault victims report their experiences to the police.
- American Indians are twice as likely to be victims of rape and sexual assault as compared to other races.
- The Department of Defense estimates that over 6% of women serving in the military experience sexual assault.
- 55% of assaults occur at or near the victim’s home.
Effects of Sexual Violence
The effects of sexual violence are far-reaching and long-lasting. They can manifest physically, mentally, and emotionally. No two people will react in the same way, but many survivors report feeling isolated, scared, ashamed, and afraid that nobody will believe them. Other common reactions include changes to sleeping patterns and eating habits or increased drug or alcohol use. For men in particular, societal pressure to conform to traditional ideas about masculinity can intensify feelings of shame and embarrassment around having experienced sexual violence. Intimate partner violence can also cause financial strain and strain on relationships. It is important to note that sexual violence is never the fault of the victim, and it can affect anyone regardless of gender, race, age, or sexual orientation.
Help is available.
If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual violence or is a survivor of sexual violence and would like support, WOAR is here for you. Please contact WOAR at 215-985-3333.