There is far more to sexual violence than just rape and a portion of it occurs within intimate relationships
Sexual violence is a phenomenon that affects hundreds of thousands of Americans every year. Progressives must remain continuously aware of sexual violence statistics for many reasons. Recognition of this phenomenon allows progressives to better communicate information about a significant problem facing society today.
Sexual violence can be broken into several categories. Sexual assault and rape can be understood as existing in separate categories. In addition to these categories, sexual violence can also be understood in terms of the age of the victim. Children are often the victims of sexual violence and many of the lifetime victims of sexual violence experienced that violence as children.
One of the most common forms of violence experienced by women is intimate partner violence. Women are generally more likely to experience violence from an intimate partner than from a non-intimate individual. Victims of sexual violence can suffer negative physical and psychological impacts as a result of having experienced that violence.
Sexual violence often involves power and control. The perpetrators of sexual violence often seek power and control over their victims. This is a pattern which is heavily represented in intimate partner violence, where one partner dominates the other. This scenario repeats itself and is self-perpetuating as at least one partner has a vested interest in maintaining the power balance.
In proceeding to evaluate the statistics, it is important to note that a significant portion of the sexual violence that occurs is never reported. What this means is that any statistics of reported sexual violence must be understood with this as an addition. It is estimated that approximately 30% of sexual assault cases are reported to the authorities.
Intimate Sexual Violence Statistics
- From 1994 to 2011, the rate of serious intimate partner violence declined 72% for females and 64% for males.
- From 2002 to 2011 nonfatal serious violence comprised more than a third of intimate partner violence against females and males.
- An estimated two-thirds of female and male intimate partner victimizations involved a physical attack.
- 8% of female intimate partner victimizations involved some form of sexual violence during the incident.
- About 4% of females and 8% of males who were victimized by an intimate partner were shot at, stabbed, or hit with a weapon.
- A larger percentage of male (27%) than female (18%) intimate partner victimizations involved a weapon. 5% of females and 19% of males were hit by an object their intimate partner held or threw at them.
- An estimated 50% of females victimized by an intimate partner, compared to 44% of males, suffered an injury.
- A greater percentage of female (13%) than male (5%) intimate partner victimizations resulted in a serious injury such as internal injury, unconsciousness, or broken bones.
- in 2011, about 42% of females victimized by an intimate were physically injured during the incident.
- 13% of female intimate partner victimizations resulted in serious physical injury.
- 44% of male intimate partner victimizations resulted in a physical injury.
- A larger percentage of males experienced serious violence when victimized by an intimate (39%) than by a nonintimate (32%).
- A larger percentage of females were physically attacked when victimized by an intimate partner (67%) than by a nonintimate offender (40%) .
- A larger percentage of males were physically attacked when victimized by an intimate partner (65%) than by a nonintimate offender (40%).
- A larger percentage of females were threatened prior to a victimization by an intimate (52%) than a nonintimate (34%) offender.
- A larger percentage of males were threatened prior to a victimization by an nonintimate (39%) than a intimate (31%).
- A larger percentage of females faced an offender with a weapon when victimized by a nonintimate (20%) than by an intimate (18%).
- A larger percentage of females were injured when the offender was an intimate (50%) than a nonintimate (24%).
- A larger percentage of males were injured when the offender was an intimate (44%) than a nonintimate (22%).
- A larger percentage of females suffered serious physical injuries when the offender was an intimate (13%) than a nonintimate (5%).
It is likely that sexual violence will remain a phenomenon in society for some time. It is in recognizing this likelihood that progressives may then proceed to evaluate the most effective methods of combating sexual violence as a phenomenon.
There are still questions to be answered about what actually constitutes sexual violence. It could be argued that many forms of sexual harassment also constitute sexual violence. It is also yet to be defined-the ways in which sexual violence is rooted in society. What this means is that it will be necessary to understand the cultural and social underpinnings of sexual violence.
In coming to this understanding the possibility will emerge for remedies to be determined and implemented socially and culturally. The victims of sexual violence are often permanently damaged either physically or psychologically. In continuing to stay informed about issues like sexual violence progressives can ensure that they are well-equipped to tackle them.