As illustrated by the Sexual Violence Continuum, sexual violence is not one single act of aggression but part of a larger continuum of attitudes, beliefs and actions that support sexual violence with the root cause being oppression including racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, ageism, ableism and others. These forms of oppression often compound the effects of sexual victimization, making the trauma even worse.
Sexual violence is sexual activity when consent is not obtained or freely given. It is a serious public health problem in the United States that profoundly impacts lifelong health, opportunity, and well-being. Sexual violence impacts every community and affects people of all genders, sexual orientations, and ages. Anyone can experience or perpetrate sexual violence. The perpetrator of sexual violence is usually someone the survivor knows, such as a friend, current or former intimate partner, coworker, neighbor, or family member. Sexual violence can occur in person, online, or through technology, such as posting or sharing sexual pictures of someone without their consent, or non-consensual sexting.
Sexual violence consequences are physical, like bruising and genital injuries, sexually transmitted infections, and pregnancy (for women) and psychological, such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
Additionally, sexual violence is connected to other forms of violence. For example, girls who have been sexually abused are more likely to experience additional sexual violence and violence types and become victims of intimate partner violence in adulthood. Bullying perpetration in early middle school is linked to sexual harassment perpetration in high school.
Certain factors may increase or decrease the risk for perpetrating or experiencing sexual violence. To prevent sexual violence, we must understand and address the factors that put people at risk for or protect them from violence. We must also understand how historical trauma and structural inequities impact health.
CDC developed, STOP SV: A Technical Package to Prevent Sexual Violence [3 MB, 48 Pages, 508] to help communities use the best available evidence to prevent sexual violence. This resource is available in English and Spanish [17MB, 48 Pages, 508] and can impact individual behaviors and relationship, family, school, community, and societal factors that influence risk and protective factors for violence.
National estimates indicate that 1 in 5 women in the United States have experienced rape at some point in their lives. Ten million women report that they experienced rape or attempted rape before turning 18, and 1 in 3 girls have reported experiencing dating violence (physical, emotional, or verbal abuse from a dating partner).
Though little research has evaluated the effectiveness of educational approaches to reducing violence against women, there are some promising theory-based primary prevention strategies currently in practice that focus on the role of conventional gender norms in sexual violence perpetration.
Research shows that bystander intervention can be an effective way of stopping sexual assault before it happens, as bystanders play a key role in preventing, discouraging, and/or intervening when an act of violence has the potential to occur.
We can stop sexual harassment and abuse before it happens by addressing the bigger picture in which it occurs. The driving forces behind sexual violence are hard to see but are often based on attitudes, norms, and social systems that support the unequal treatment of certain groups over others.
Sexual violence prevention means addressing the root causes of sexual violence, like broad cultural factors such as beliefs about gender equality and multiple forms of oppression such as racism, transphobia, and ableism, and social systems that reinforce power over others.
Behaviors or actions like sexist jokes, victim-blaming language or comments may seem like not that big of a deal, but they contribute to the same way of thinking that fuels violence. Although they only reflect the point of view of the person making them, their public visibility normalizes not taking sexual abuse seriously. In other cases, they may cause harm by re-traumatizing victims of abuse or assault who read them.
In April, the Army released the full investigation into the April 2020 disappearance and death of Spc. Vanessa Guillén. The story of her harassment and killing went viral last year, prompting protests over the way the military addresses issues of sexual assault and violence against women.
Thirty-three percent of Minnesota women and twenty-five percent of Minnesota men experience intimate partner physical violence (IPV), intimate partner rape and/or intimate partner stalking in their lifetimes. Along with physical and sexual violence, people often experience emotional abuse, financial abuse and live in an environment of control where they are isolated from friends and relatives. One in five homicide victims are killed by their intimate partner. Physical injury is the result of IPV for a third of women who are victims and one in ten men. Those effected by IPV even have increased risk of asthma, heart disease, stroke, chemical dependency, depression, and anxiety.
Anyone can be the target of sexual assault, regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, sexual history, or social class. There is no stereotypical victim or rapist. Nearly 85% of all victims of sexual assault knew the person who raped or assaulted them. Often a situation starts off innocent and fun, but can then very quickly escalate out of control.
Communicate your limits clearly. If someone starts to offend you or cross a line that you have set for yourself, tell them firmly and early. Polite approaches may be misunderstood or ignored. If the person does not respect your wishes, remove yourself from the situation immediately. Miscommunication can be explained later. Do not give someone the chance to violate your wishes or boundaries. This can often contribute to the guilt felt following unwanted sexual advances, but it does not make it your fault.
Dedicated to ending domestic violence and sexual assault by increasing awareness, inspiring action and fueling culture change, NO MORE has partnered with Uber to create and launch the #DontStandBy bystander intervention campaign to educate the nightlife community and encourage people to prevent sexual assault before it starts.
Ujima Inc. serves as a national, culturally-specific resource center to provide support to and be a voice for the Black Community in response to domestic, sexual, and community violence. Uber and Ujima have partnered on a special Sunrise Series of listening sessions on the transportation safety experiences of women in the Black community across modes of transportation.
me too. International serves as a convener, thought leader, and organizer across the mainstream and the grassroots to address systems that allow for the proliferation of sexual violence, specifically in Black, queer, trans, disabled, and all communities of color.
Dedicated to ending domestic violence and sexual assault by increasing awareness, inspiring action and fueling culture change, NO MORE has partnered with Uber to create and launch the #DontStandBy bystander intervention campaign to educate the nightlife community and encourage people to prevent sexual assault before it starts.\u00a0
Ujima Inc. serves as a national, culturally-specific resource center to provide support to and be a voice for the Black Community in response to domestic, sexual, and community violence. Uber and Ujima have partnered on a special Sunrise Series of listening sessions on the transportation safety experiences of women in the Black community across modes of transportation.\u00a0
As the nation\u2019s largest sexual violence prevention organization, RAINN operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline. Uber has partnered with RAINN to develop sexual assault and misconduct education for drivers and to administer the Uber Survivor Resources Hotline and Fund.
me too. International serves as a convener, thought leader, and organizer across the mainstream and the grassroots to address systems that allow for the proliferation of sexual violence, specifically in Black, queer, trans, disabled, and all communities of color.\u00a0
The end of April marked the end of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, in which educators, activists, survivors, and other people capable of experiencing common sense came together to create strategies and communities that end sexual violence. But in many cases, April came too late for lasting or impactful change. For many people, April came after their assault, after their friend's assault, or after they themselves committed an assault. That is why it's important, as we move from one SAAM to the next, that we continue to start dialogue and educate the huddled masses through primary prevention.
What we know is that a wide range of primary prevention strategies minimize risk, lower sexual assault rates, and change behaviors and minds. Academically, the research points us in that direction. Angela Borges, Victoria Banyard, and Mary Moynihan found that positive information (discussing consent, sex, and relationships instead of rape, assault, and violence) gave people more incentive to really challenge their preconceived notions, and also stated that interactive educational programs led to better grasps on concepts and ideas. Elena Klaw and a team of other social scientists found that "comprehensive rape education also serves as consciousness raising, engendering transformations in thought and behavior." J. D. Foubert and K.A. Marriott found that primary prevention strategies led to reductions in participants' belief in rape myths, created a more aware bystander culture, and increased men's participation in the movement to end rape. And in cities like Vancouver, recent data shows assaults are decreasing due to educational efforts. 2b1af7f3a8