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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Approximately 1 in 21 men have been made to penetrate someone else, and 13% of women and 6% of men are sexually coerced in their lifetimes. Our ultimate goal is to call attention to and stop sexual violence before it begins and to start conversations about how to prevent sexual violence.

Many Victims do not Disclose Sexual Violence

Statistics underestimate the problem because many victims do not tell the police, family, or friends about the violence. Sexual violence is any sexual activity where consent is not freely given. This includes completed or attempted sex acts that are against the victim's will or involve a victim who is unable to consent.

Sexual violence also includes:

  • Unwanted sexual contact, and
  • Non-contact unwanted sexual experiences (such as verbal sexual harassment)

Photo: Group of womenSexual violence can be committed by anyone:

  • A current or former intimate partner
  • A family member
  • A person in position of power or trust
  • A friend or acquaintance
  • A stranger, or someone known only by sight

Sexual violence impacts health in many ways and can lead to long-term physical and mental health problems. Victims may experience chronic pain, headaches, and sexually transmitted diseases. They are often fearful or anxious and may have problems trusting others. Anger and stress can lead to eating disorders, depression, and even suicidal thoughts.

If you are, or someone you know is a victim of sexual violence,

  • Contact the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE, free, confidential, 24/7 and get information at RAINN.
  • Contact your local emergency services at 9-1-1.

Working to Prevent Sexual Violence

CDC uses a 4-step approach to address public health problems such as sexual violence:

  1. Define the problem
  2. Identify risk and protective factors
  3. Develop and test prevention strategies
  4. Assure widespread adoption

The ultimate goal is to stop sexual violence before it begins.

 

More Information

 

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  • Page last reviewed: March 31, 2014
  • Page last updated: March 31, 2014
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30333, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC-INFO