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Violence Against Women: Sexual Violence

Narrative

Sexual violence includes rape, sexual coercion, and unwanted sexual experiences, regardless of whether the perpetrator was an intimate partner, acquaintance, or stranger.1 In 2010, nearly one-fifth (18.3 percent), or 21 million U.S. women reported having been raped in their lifetime while 1.1 percent, or 1.3 million experienced rape in the past year. More than three-quarters of female victims of rape were first raped before the age of 25 years (data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site). Less than 1.5 percent of men reported having been raped in their lifetime (data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site).

Lifetime experience of sexual victimization other than rape was reported by 53 million or 44.6 percent of women in 2010. This includes non-contact unwanted sexual experiences, such as someone harassing or exposing themselves without physical contact, which was reported by 33.7 percent of women, and unwanted sexual contact, such as unwanted fondling, reported by 27.2 percent of women. Sexual coercion, defined as unwanted sexual penetration that occurs after non-physical pressure such as repeated demands for sex, was also reported by 13.0 percent of women. Nearly one-quarter of men reported having experienced sexual victimization other than rape in their lifetime (data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site).

The prevalence of rape and other forms of sexual violence reported by women vary by race and ethnicity. Non-Hispanic women of multiple races and non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native women were most likely to report having experienced rape at some point in their lifetime (33.5 and 26.9 percent, respectively), while Hispanic and non-Hispanic White women were least likely (14.6 and 18.8 percent, respectively). Nearly 60 percent of non-Hispanic women of multiple races reported having experienced some form of sexual violence other than rape in their lifetime as did 40–50 percent of non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black and non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native women.

1 Black, M.C., Basile, K.C., Breiding, M.J., Smith, S.G., Walters, M.L., Merrick, M.T., Chen, J., & Stevens, M.R. (2011). The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Summary Report. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Graphs

Data

Lifetime Prevalence of Rape and Other Forms of Sexual Violence Among Women Aged 18 and Older, 2010

Percent of Women:

  • Rape: 18.3
  • Rape - Completed forced penetration: 12.3
  • Rape - Attempted forced penetration 5.2
  • Rape - Completed alcohol/drug facilitated penetration 8.0
  • Other Sexual Violence* 44.6
  • Other Sexual Violence - Sexual coercion 13.0
  • Other Sexual Violence - Unwanted sexual contact: 27.2
  • Other Sexual Violence - Non-contact unwanted sexual experiences 33.7

*Includes sexual coercion, unwanted sexual contact, and non-contact unwanted sexual experiences.

Source: Black, MC, Basile, KC, Breiding, MJ, Smith, SG, Walters, ML, Merrick, MT, Chen, J, & Stevens, MR (2011). The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Summary Report. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Lifetime Prevalence of Rape and Other Forms of Sexual Violence Among Women Aged 18 and Older, by Race/Ethnicity, 2010
Race/Ethnicity Percent of Women
Rape Other Sexual Violence†
*Estimate does not meet the standard of reliability; relative standard error >30% or cell size 20.
**Separate estimates were not available for Asian and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islanders.
†Includes sexual coercion, unwanted sexual contact, and non-contact unwanted sexual experiences. Source: Black, MC, Basile, KC, Breiding, MJ, Smith, SG, Walters, ML, Merrick, MT, Chen, J, & Stevens, MR (2011). The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Summary Report. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Non-Hispanic White 18.8 47.6
Non-Hispanic Black 22.0 41.0
Hispanic 14.6 36.1
Non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native 26.9 49.0
Non-Hispanic Asian or Pacific Islander** * 29.5
Non-Hispanic Multiple Races 33.5 58.0