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1 in 5 women report being raped in their lifetime, while 1 in 71 men report the same.

Over ½ of all women living with HIV in the U.S. have been raped, assaulted, or stalked by an intimate partner.

Forced sexual initiation, multiple and high-risk sexual partners, and unprotected sex all increase the risk of HIV contraction. 

Strong evidence suggests that women are more likely to contract HIV when in "gender-inequitable" relationships: relationships determined by socially constructed gender roles, usually where the man has more power.

In short, millions of women are contracting HIV because of sexual violence, often within an intimite relationship. 

What are you going to do about it? 


Understand Consent

Consent may seem very complicated in certain situations, but overall it’s pretty simple: Never automatically assume things. “No” means “No.” And remember, consent can not be given if there’s alcohol involved.

Here’s a great video that explains consent: it’s just like a cup of tea. 

  • Avoid Risky Situations

    • Never walk alone, especially at night. Leave in groups, stay in groups. If you are dropping each other off at separate cars, walk to one car and drive together to the other car.

    • Agree with friends to “look out” for one another when attending parties or other events.

join the movement

The Cost of Campus Rape

sign the petition here

Meet Lucy

A survivor's story

After being sexually assaulted, Lucy felt the pressure of societal stigma, and didn't report the incident. Afterwards, Lucy battled with depression, substance abuse, and anxiety, but was ultimately able to overcome these challenges.

Key Terms

Sexual Assault = Any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent of the recipient.

Domestic Violence/ Intimate Partner Abuse = Violent or aggressive behavior within the home, typically involving the violent abuse of a spouse or partner.

Rape = Unlawful sexual activity and usually sexual intercourse carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against the will of a female or with a person who is beneath a certain age or incapable of valid consent.

Sexual Assault in the United States


  • On average, there are 321,500 victims of rape and sexual assault each year  


  • Ages 12-34 are the highest risk years for rape and sexual assault


  • Females ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault


  • 1 in every 10 males has been a victim of rape or attempted rape in his lifetime


  • Transgender students are at a higher risk for sexual violence: 21% of TGQN (transgender, genderqueer, non conforming) college students have been sexually assaulted, compared to 18% of non-TGQN females, and 4% of non-TGQN males

Since Women are More Likely to be Sexually Assaulted than Men...


  • Women who have experienced intimate partner violence are 55% more likely to be HIV positive


  • Women are twice as likely as men to contract HIV during unprotected sex with an infected partner


  • Women who experience intimate partner violence are approximately 40% more likely to have unprotected sex due to fear of violence and emotional abuse

Relationship Between Violence and HIV Infection


Violence increases the risk of HIV infection as a result of physiological and psychological reasons. Biologically, women are more vulnerable to infection and forced sex, which in turn increases the risk of HIV transmission due to tears and lacerations, especially in adolescent girls. In addition, even the threat of violence can have serious negative consequences. People fearing violence are less able to protect themselves from infection, as they do not have the power to negotiate for safe sex or to refuse unwanted sex. Furthermore, they often do not get tested for HIV, and they fail to seek treatment after infection. This is a larger problem in more underdeveloped countries; for instance, a survey found that about 60% of HIV-positive women chose not to receive treatment at a Zambian clinic because they feared violent behavior and abandonment by their family. Teenagers who had been forced to have sex in the past year were even more likely to hide their HIV-positive status.

Risk Behaviors


Being a victim of sexual violence and being susceptible to HIV share a number of risk behaviors. Forced sex in childhood or adolescence increases the likelihood of engaging in unprotected sex, having multiple partners, participating in sex work, and substance abuse. People who experience forced sex in intimate relationships often find it difficult to negotiate condom use either because using a condom could be interpreted as mistrust of their partner or as an admission of promiscuity. Sexual coercion is also associated with low self-esteem and depression, both of which are factors associated with many of the risk behaviors for HIV-infection.

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Mental Health Sexual Assault


  • On average, there are 433,648 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year in the United States.

  • The likelihood that a person suffers suicidal or depressive thoughts increases after sexual violence.

    • 94% of women who are raped experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during the two weeks following the rape.

    • 30% of women report symptoms of PTSD 9 months after the rape.

    • 33% of women who are raped contemplate suicide.

    • 13% of women who are raped attempt suicide.

    • Approximately 70% of rape or sexual assault victims experience moderate to severe distress, a larger percentage than for any other violent crime.

  • People who have been sexually assaulted are more likely to use drugs than the general public.

    • 3.4 times more likely to use marijuana

    • 6 times more likely to use cocaine

    • 10 times more likely to use other major drugs

  • Sexual violence also affects victims’ relationships with their family, friends, and co-workers.

  • 38% of victims of sexual violence experience work or school problems, which can include significant problems with a boss, coworker, or peer.

  • 37% experience family/friend problems, including getting into arguments more frequently than before, not feeling able to trust their family/friends, or not feeling as close to them as before the crime.

  • 84% of survivors who were victimized by an intimate partner experience professional or emotional issues, including moderate to severe distress, or increased problems at work or school.

  • 79% of survivors who were victimized by a family member, close friend or acquaintance experience professional or emotional issues, including moderate to severe distress, or increased problems at work or school.

  • 67% of survivors who were victimized by a stranger experience professional or emotional issues, including moderate to severe distress, or increased problems at work or school.

  • Victims are at risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

  • Studies suggest that the chance of getting pregnant from one-time, unprotected intercourse is between 3.1-5%13, depending on a multitude of factors, including the time of month intercourse occurs, whether contraceptives are used, and the age of the female. The average number of rapes and sexual assaults against females of childbearing age is approximately 250,000.1 Thus, the number of children conceived from rape each year in the United States might range from 7,750—12,500.12 This is a very general estimate, and the actual number may differ. This statistic presents information from a number of different studies. Further, this information may not take into account factors which increase or decrease the likelihood of pregnancy, including, but not limited to: impact of birth control or condom use at the time of attack or infertility RAINN presents.

Violence Against Women

  • Violence against women (VAW) and HIV/AIDS are major public health problems that adversely affect sexual and reproductive health. They intersect with each other in important ways. Research exploring these intersections in countries in different regions of the world documents an undeniable link between VAW and HIV infection. This involves multiple pathways, either directly through rape/sexual assault or indirectly through fear of violence and difficulties for women in controlling and negotiating safe sex and condom use. Violence in childhood may also increase sexual risk behavior and thereby risk of acquiring HIV.

  • Evidence shows that HIV can also be a risk factor for violence since disclosure can put women at risk of violence by their partners, family or community members. Drug use is another common dimension of both phenomena, and can also serve as risk factor or outcome of experiencing violence or HIV infection. Additionally, vulnerable populations, particularly sex workers, may face increased risks, and require special attention.

  • A review of tested strategies for addressing violence against women and HIV shows promising possibilities for reducing the occurrence of both and developing strategies for prevention and to support those affected. Results of this review also show that any long-term solution to VAW and/or HIV prevention requires addressing the social context and the gender inequalities that form a core element of this.

  • Programs and policies should address the underlying social and economic issues, gender inequalities and harmful gender norms and apply a human rights focus. At the same time, there is a need to develop services, such as comprehensive post rape care that responds to the physical and psychological health needs of violence survivor, and testing and counselling services that address VAW.

  • Women in the United States experience high rates of violence and trauma, including physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, and women with HIV, who represent about a quarter of all people living with HIV in the U.S., are disproportionately affected. Intimate partner violence (IPV), also called domestic violence (DV), in particular has been shown to be associated with increased risk for HIV among women as well as poorer treatment outcomes for those who are already infected. In addition, it has been suggested that women are at risk of experiencing violence upon disclosure of their HIV status to partners.

  • Among HIV positive women, IPV is even more prevalent, reported by 55% of women living with HIV. In addition to the traumatic impact IPV has on all women, the experience of trauma and violence is also associated with poor treatment outcomes and higher transmission risk among HIV positive women.

Women at Risk for HIV


The association between violence against women and risk for HIV infection has been the focus of a growing number of studies. Findings from these studies indicate:

•Women and men who report a history of IPV victimization are more likely than those who do not to report behaviors known to increase the risk for HIV, including injection drug use, treatment for a sexually transmitted infection (STI), giving or receiving money or drugs for sex, and anal sex without a condom in the past year. This is true even when other factors such as demographic characteristics, other unhealthy behaviors (smoking, heavy drinking, high body mass index) and negative health conditions (e.g., stroke, disability, and asthma) are similar.

•HIV-positive women in the United States experience IPV at rates that are higher than for the general population. Across a number of studies, the rate of IPV among HIV-positive women (55%) was double the national rate, and the rates of childhood sexual abuse (39%) and childhood physical abuse (42%) were more than double the national rate.

•Rates of violence victimization among HIV-positive women are comparable to those for HIV-negative women drawn from similar populations and with similar levels of HIV risk behaviors. However, HIV-positive women may experience abuse that is more frequent and more severe.

• Women in relationships with violence have four times the risk for contracting STIs, including HIV, than women in relationships without violence.

•Fear of violence can influence whether some women get tested for HIV. However, in one US study, fear of partner notification and partner violence were not statistically associated with women’s decisions to get or not get an HIV test.

•Sexual abuse in childhood and forced sexual initiation in adolescence are associated with increased HIV risk-taking behaviors, including sex with multiple partners, sex with unfamiliar partners, sex with older partners, alcohol-related risky sex, anal sex, and low rates of condom use as well as HIV infection, in adult women.



Sources   Machtinger, E.L., et al. Psychological trauma and PTSD in HIV‐positive women: a meta‐analysis. AIDS Behavior. 2012; 16(8): 2091‐ 2100. ; NISVS (2010)

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