- 1 in 3 Asian and Pacific Islander women (30%) reported sexual violence victimization (not including rape) in their lifetime
CDC: 2010 NISVS Summary Report (Released 2011)
- 56% of Filipina and 64% of Indian and Pakistan women reported ever experiencing sexual assault by an intimate partner, in a study of 143 domestic violence survivors Lifecourse Violence and Help-Seeking Report (2010)
Sexual violence is defined as any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, or acts to traffic, or otherwise directed against a person’s sexuality using coercion, by any person regardless of their relationship to the victim, in any setting, including but not limited to home and work.
“I was told that because I couldn’t remember, I technically could not prove it was unwanted. I had to fight for an entire year to make it clear that there was something wrong with this situation.”
Excessive restrictions designed to control female sexuality are used to label women’s sexual expression as transgressions, to justify victim-blaming, and to mask the high prevalence and incidence of sexual violence. Violations include being forced to watch and imitate pornography, denying the right to choose or express a different sexual orientation, forced marriage, child marriage, marital rape, ‘corrective’ rape of lesbians, body modification and humiliation, cyber-stalking, mass rape in conflict zones, and more. In private and public spheres, sexual violence is carried out with impunity, with appallingly low conviction rates for rapists. Women and girls are overwhelmingly targeted for sexual violence; but boys, men, and LGBTQ individuals are also victimized.
Sexual violence is a critical issue that needs to be addressed in API communities because:
- Child sexual abuse and adult assaults often stay undisclosed and/or denied proper help when disclosed
- Compartmentalized services do not work for our communities
- Immigrants and refugees can have traumatic histories of sexual violence
- Advocate discomfort about sexual violence is a barrier to disclosure by victims/survivors
- Identifying increased vulnerability to and risk of sexual violence informs prevention and intervention
“I grew up in a home where we were taught valuable lessons about not wasting money, not wasting time, not wasting an education. I am left with a wasted childhood.”
South Asian survivor of incestuous sexual abuse. The Children We Sacrifice, by Grace Poore (2000)
Of 160 API-serving domestic violence programs surveyed, 69% (111) report addressing sexual violence/sexual assault.
Resources on Sexual Violence
Types of sexual violence, vulnerable women and potentially dangerous settings.
This training curriculum helps advocates identify types of sexual violence and understand how an advocate’s own discomfort can discourage victims from disclosing abuse.
Suggestions for advocates, survivors, communities and domestic violence agencies on how to address sexual violence.
This guide, written by the Domestic Violence Resource Project (DVRP), provides an overview of the diversity in the Pacific Islands and aims to orient the reader on the geographical, historical, ethno-linguistic, and cultural diversity of the Pacific Islander Community.
Centers for Disease Control: The Lifetime Economic Burden of Rape among U.S. Adults (2017)
National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC): provides leadership in preventing and responding to sexual violence through collaboration, sharing and creating resources, and promoting research. The Resource Center Library contains a comprehensive selection of relevant and timely resources on sexual violence, prevention, and related topics
Partners for Prevention: UN Multi-country Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific (2013)