What is sexual violence?
When someone forces, manipulates, or coerces another person into sexual activity, they commit sexual violence. This happens any time sexual activity occurs when a person does not or cannot give consent. Sexual violence includes a range of actions and behaviors. Some examples include: rape, attempted rape, child sexual abuse, and sexual exploitation.
How common is it?
Sexual violence is more common than many people realize. It can happen to people of all ages, races, genders, sexual orientations, religions, abilities, professions, incomes, and ethnicities. It happens every day in our communities, schools, and workplaces. Chances are you know someone who has been sexually assaulted. Local statistics from Family Services’ Rape Crisis Center in 2018 include:
- Responded to 300 victims of sexual assault or rape.
- An advocate personally accompanied 101 victims to evidentiary (rape kit) exams.
- 30% of clients served were under the age of 18.
In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control released a report detailing the findings of a large, methodologically rigorous research study on the prevalence and consequences of sexual assault, stalking, and intimate partner violence (Black et al., 2011). The study found:
- A lifetime sexual assault prevalence rate of 18.3% of women and 1.4% of men, meaning that almost 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men experiences rape in the span of their lifetime.
- 44.6% of women and 22.2% of men have experienced sexual violence other than rape in their lifetime.
- 79.6% of female victims of rape experienced their first rape before age 25, with 42.2% before the age of 18.
- 27.8% of male victims experienced their first rape by the age of 10.
What does Family Services do?
Family Services’ Rape Crisis Center provides 24-hour crisis response and comprehensive, trauma-informed services to adults and children who have been victims of rape, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, and human trafficking. A trained crisis counselor is available 24 hours a day via our Sexual Assault Hotline (559-732- 7273), and can respond in person to a victim wherever they may be—school, hospital, clinics, police station, etc.— to provide emotional support, crisis counseling, and advocacy. Victims are able to receive free legal services and ongoing professional counseling at no cost. We also offer sexual assault survivor support groups for adults and children.
What can I do?
- Learn how to respond to a friend or family member who tells you they have experienced sexual violence.
- Be an engaged bystander. Your actions can change a life. Intervene when you see or hear behaviors that promote, condone, or encourage sexual violence.
- Volunteer as a crisis counselor to victims of sexual assault.
- Donate to Family Services’ Sexual Assault Services program.