Quick Statistics about Virginia

The following report experiencing rape in their lifetime:

  • 3% of men (13% experience sexual assault);
  • 18% of Hispanic women;
  • 27% of African American women;
  • 28% of White women;
  • 29% of women identified as Asian, Pacific Islander, Hawaiian, mixed race or other ethnic group.
LGBTQIQA Survivors:
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, queer, and asexual individuals may experience additional difficulties and fear in the event of sexual trauma than do heterosexual individuals.
  • Reporting an incident may involve disclosing one's sexual orientation, and thereby creating fear of alienation, misunderstanding, or exposure to assumptions and judgments.
  • Additionally, since numerous LGBTQIQA communities can be very close, survivors may fear losing friends or facing isolation from other community members.
  • Transgender individuals may experience additional discrimination during reporting if anatomy and/or appearance do not match stereotypical gender norms.
Male Survivors
  • If a male survivor is under the impression that only women experience sexual trauma, he may feel isolated and alone.
  • Due to societal standards in western cultures, male survivors may feel emasculated.
  • If the trauma was perpetrated by another man, the survivor may struggle with confusion relating to sexual orientation.
  • Men may avoid disclosing their sexual trauma, labeling it sexual trauma, seeking services, or choosing legal prosecution because of assumptions that may be made about them, their gender role, or their sexuality
  • Male survivors may also assume that there are no resources available for men who have suffered from sexual trauma. Fortunately, this is not the case.
Racial and Ethnic Minority Survivors
  • As seen with other diverse populations, racial and ethnic minority sexual trauma survivors face unique barriers and difficulties.
  • The issue of racism may be relevant to the experience of sexual trauma, thus necessitating additional resources to cope and/or pursue criminal charges.
  • In some cultures, seeking outside help is not easy or acceptable. These cultures often emphasize relying upon family members, community, church, or God(s) rather than upon support outside the community.
  • Some survivors may not disclose their sexual trauma and instead attempt to cope on their own due to the belief that seeking additional help or legal assistance will be frowned upon.
  • Fear of scrutiny and misunderstanding from potential service providers due to anticipated racism can be an additional barrier to seeking help.
Survivors with Religious Affiliations
  • Individuals with some religious backgrounds may face unique struggles following sexual trauma.
  • Survivors may only seek support within their organization or rely heavily on their faith to cope with the trauma. Alternatively, some religious cultures emphasize chastity and wholeness, leading survivors to feel sinful or shameful despite their experiences having been unwelcomed ones.
  • Survivors who are members of these religious communities may experience fear in disclosing their sexual traumas as well as a perception of responsibility for their experience.
Survivors with Low Socioeconomic Status
  • A common barrier and concern for sexual trauma survivors with low socioeconomic status is the means to locate and pay for helpful resources.
  • Some survivors may experience a sense of hopelessness due to the perception that affordable support services are nonexistent.
  • While services for survivors with limited means may be harder to find, they are available, including counseling agencies that offer sliding scale payment options.
College Student Survivors
  • Although college students may identify with one or more of the categories described above, they may also experience distinctive struggles related to their life stage and development, such as fear of academic failure.
  • Depression, isolation, and feelings of helplessness may impair survivors' ability to engage in school work.
  • Additional stress may arise from taking time away from school for legal purposes connected with the sexual trauma. Completing assignments late, taking time off, or delaying graduation may become options when survivors would not otherwise consider them.
  • Survivors have a need to take control of their lives and college students may disregard emotional feelings to complete school work.
  • Many colleges and universities have alcohol-driven cultures, creating an environment with especially high risk of unwanted sexual contact.
  • At least fifty percent of sexual assaults of college students are associated with alcohol use.
  • Ninety percent of campus sexual assaults are committed by an acquaintance of the victim.
  • Since students often move away from home for college, sexual trauma survivors may feel isolated and alone in their pain. This reaction can be even more acute if the survivor is in a new location and he or she is unaware of the support services available in the area.

Barry, D.M., & Cell, P.M. (2009). Campus Response Teams: Program development and operational management. New Jersey: Civic Research Institute.

Leftwich, B., Perry, B., & Odor, R.K. (2007). Virginia Needs and Resources Assessment and State Plan for Sexual Violence Prevention. Virginia Dept. of Health.

Masho, S., & Odor, R. K. (2003). Prevalence of Sexual Assault in Virginia. Virginia Department of Health.

Men Can Stop Rape (2006). Male survivors: What you should know about men who have been sexually assaulted.

University of Michigan. (2010) Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Center.

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