Facts about Sexual Violence
Facts about sexual violence.
Before we get into the facts, let's start out with a few definitions. (Based on definitions given by KASAP.)
What is "sexual violence?"
Sexual violence occurs any time a person is forced, coerced, or manipulated into ANY unwanted or harmful sexual activity.
What is "rape?"
Under Kentucky law, "rape" means sexual violence that includes sexual intercourse (i.e., where there is penetration of the sex organs). However, "rape" is commonly used to refer to the broad range of sexual violence as it is through out this website.
What is "force" or "coercion?"
Perpetrators most often use threats, coercion, or manipulation to get what they want. Examples include:
- Physically holding a person down or restraining a person's movement.
- Making direct or indirect threats against a person, her/his family, reputation, etc.
- Blackmailing someone into having sex.
- Using or displaying a weapon.
What is consent?
Consent means permission given by someone who is legally able to give consent. A person is not able to give consent (under KY law--KRS 510.020), if that person is:
- Less than 16 years old.
- Physically helpless or mentally incapacitated (including someone who is severely intoxicated).
- Mentally retarded.
The purpose of rape is POWER and CONTROL.
A person who rapes someone wants to feel dominant over another person. Rape is not just about having sex with someone else--it's about taking away an individual's personal power and control.
Men can be victims of rape, too.
Even though many people think that rape is a "women's issue," statistics tell us that 1 in 33 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.
Most men who are raped are raped by other men, not women (a majority of rapists in general are male (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2006)). Further, most men who rape other men are heterosexual themselves. Remember, rape is NOT about sexual arousal. Rape is about taking away the power and control of another human being.
A victim is never to blame for sexual violence.
No one deserves to be raped. Perpetrators of sexual violence are not looking for victims who dress or look a certain way. They look for forms of vulnerability and opportunity to carry out the assault. The only person who can prevent rape is the rapist.
Most people do not "cry rape."
Research shows that only between two and eight percent of rapes are falsely reported (Lonsway, Archambault, & Lisak, 2009). In fact, rape is an UNDERREPORTED crime. Estimates suggest that only one rape is reported to the police for every ten rapes that occur.
Victims of sexual violence are reluctant to report for a variety of reasons. They may be ashamed of what happened to them or be afraid that no one will believe them. Some are afraid that others will say that the rape was their fault (see Fact #3).
There is help available for people who are victims of sexual violence.
Call 1.800.656.HOPE (4673) any time of the day, any day of the week for information and support.