In recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we wanted to share the facts on sexual assault as a form of domestic violence.
- Perpetrators who are physically violent toward their intimate partners are often sexually abusive as well.
- Intimate partner sexual assault and rape are used to intimidate, control and demean victims and survivors of domestic violence.
- Intimate partner sexual assault is more likely than stranger or acquaintance assault to cause physical injury.
- Between 40% and 45% of women in abusive relationships will also be sexually assaulted during the course of the relationship.
- Women who are sexually abused by intimate partners suffer severe and long-lasting physical and mental health problems, similar to those of other rape victims. They have higher rates of depression and anxiety than women who were either raped by a non-intimate partner or physically but not sexually abused by an intimate partner.
- Between 10% and 14% of married women will be raped by their husbands at some point during their marriages
How can you help someone who is experiencing sexual abuse by an intimate partner? Listen to the victim and don’t judge or try to give advice. Be supportive. Suggest that the survivor call AVDA at 713-224-9911 or go online at avda.org. We are here to help and can refer her/him to shelters and provide emergency funding, counseling, and free legal representation.
Remember: Women who are sexually abused by intimate partners report more risk factors for intimate partner homicides than non-sexually abused women. The most dangerous time for a victim of family violence is when leaving the abuser. A victim should never reveal that she/he is leaving—it could mean the difference between life and death.