Domestic violence has been an unspoken part of society since the beginning of time. Traditionally in most cultures, women have been taught from the time they were young girls to be subservient to their male counterparts. When accepting a man’s marriage proposal, a dutiful wife knew all too well that she should do as he says, when he says it, and how he wants it done, or else there would be a high price to pay.
Women were lucky if they were allowed to pick out their own clothes for the day.
Unfortunately, this was simply a normal occurrence, not to be given a second thought by anyone involved. But as time passed and people evolved, many began to realize that was an unjust way of life, not only for the women, but for their children who had been forced to bear witness to this. There have been many outside influences that helped to open the minds of the general public.
One major influence on women’s rights was the woman’s movement of the 1960s. This was a time when women became liberated and learned that they had rights to their own opinions, their own styles, and their own ways of life. It was at this time that many women chose to leave the ironing and the aprons behind to seek employment outside of the home.
As these women began to make their own money, it enabled them to feel much more confident. Their growing confidence began to shed new light on their unhealthy relationships and brought them feelings of independence. Why would they ever put up with such foul treatment from their husbands when they could take care of themselves? These feelings of liberation and independence started to spread like wildfire, and a new, much stronger society of women was born.
The Persistence of Abuse Today
Even after the 60s movement hit its mark, inspired more women to take control of their own lives, and changed the way of thinking for most of the free world, some women still remain in a suppressed state of being to this day. Domestic violence takes place in all walks of life. There is no race, color, or creed that is exempt from the possibility of it occurring within their households.
Battered women are made to feel worthless and insignificant through the hands of their abusers. The longer the abuse takes place, the more worthless these women are made to feel. With each passing day, they will fall deeper and deeper into their dark holes of hopelessness and depression.
However, what some of these women are not aware of is that there is a way out. Now more than ever, there is so much help out there for battered and abused women. There are domestic abuse hotlines and women’s shelters which will provide counseling and assistance with finding new housing.
Educational Opportunities for Survivors of Domestic Abuse
The best thing that a battered woman can do for herself is to further her education. This way, she can become independent so she can support herself and her children all on her own; but the first thing she must do is to get out of the abusive relationship that she is in.
Once she finds the courage and the help that she needs to get out of the situation she is in, she will want to better her chances of finding stable employment through higher education. For this she will need funding.
Fortunately for her, there are several organizations that provide scholarships and grants to survivors of domestic violence. With a little research, women will find that there are many groups out there that want to help them get the education they need in order to turn their lives around.
University of Kentucky
The University of Kentucky has established the Center for Research on Violence Against Women. This organization helps battered and abused women by providing free counseling as well as ongoing mentoring for these women. They started the Women’s Empowerment Scholarship Program which offers domestic abuse survivors the opportunity to further their education and build themselves a brighter future. This scholarship is only open to those who have left their abusive relationships and accepted help from one of the battered women’s programs in the state of Kentucky.
Liz Claiborne Foundation
Since 2005, the Liz Claiborne Foundation has provided funding through their Liz Scholarship program. This scholarship is offered to women survivors of domestic violence so that they may pursue an education and begin to turn their lives around. To be eligible for this scholarship, the women must have left their abusive relationships and received domestic abuse counseling. All funds provided by the Liz Scholarship program must be used on college tuition and expenses.
Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund
The Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund provides funding for low-income women who have been the victims of domestic abuse. The applicants must be at least 35 or older and pursuing either an associate or bachelor’s degree. Each recipient of this scholarship must be a citizen of the United States and display good leader qualities.
The Jeannette Rankin Women’s Program bases its low-income standards on the Lower Living Standard which was set up by the United States Department of Labor. Winners of this scholarship are selected according to the applicant’s financial needs, future career goals, leadership skills, and personal challenges in which they must overcome.
Women’s Independence Scholarship Program
The Women’s Independence Scholarship Program was established in 1999 to provide educational funding for women survivors of domestic abuse. To qualify for this scholarship, the applicant must have been separated from her abuser for at least one year prior to applying. She must be able to prove legal citizenship to the United States, and have financial need for assistance. The applicant must also have received at least six months of domestic abuse counseling before applying for funding.
The scholarship winners may use the funding for tuition and expenses toward technical and vocational schools or universities. Typically this award goes to women who are enrolled in undergraduate programs, but in some cases postgraduate students have been awarded this scholarship.
The Sunshine Lady Foundation
The Sunshine Lady Foundation awards scholarships to women who have survived domestic abuse and are looking to make better lives for themselves and their children. This foundation gives special consideration to women with small children who have left their abusive partners and are struggling to support their children on their own. The amount of funding varies depending on the number of donations received, but the average scholarship amount is $3,000 per recipient. The scholarship money may be used towards college tuition and expenses as well as transportation and child care.
- The applicant must be a female domestic abuse survivor.
- The applicant must be away from her abuser for a minimum of six months before applying.
- The applicant must be receiving counseling.
- If the applicant has children over the age of 5, they must be receiving counseling.
- The applicant must have set career goals.
- The applicant must be enrolled in a university, technical, or vocational program.
- The applicant must display leadership abilities.
- The applicant must be a legal citizen or resident of the United States.
For more information on this scholarship, visit www.wispinc.org.
Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation For Women And Children
As the first woman of color to serve in the United States House of Representatives, Patsy Takemoto Mink’s major platform was the concern for women’s rights. While she served in the 2nd Congressional District of Hawaii, she established a scholarship program for low-income women survivors of domestic violence.
Every year, five scholarships are awarded to abused and battered mothers who have chosen to take control of their lives and better themselves through education. Recipients of this scholarship may use the funds for tuition and expenses towards a college or technical school of their choosing.
To be eligible to apply, the applicant must have taken her children and left her abusive relationship to find new housing and receive counseling for herself and her children. For more information, visit www.patsyminkfoundation.org.
OEDB (Online Education Database)
This organization focuses on single mothers who have been victims of domestic abuse. Their goal is to help get them educated and career-ready so that they can provide for their children and go on to maintain independent, prosperous lives. There are several resources within OEDB that are set up to assist single mothers with their educational financial needs:
- Our Families Our Future: This organization is based in Wyoming and has established the CLIMB Wyoming program. This program assists single mothers who are domestic abuse survivors in building careers through education and training programs. Their goal is to help these women increase their wages so they can become independent and provide for their families.
- The Flemming Associates Young Parent Program: This is another program set up by OEDB that will assist low-income single mothers in getting out of an abusive relationship. Their goal is to educate these women so they can turn their lives, and the lives of their children around.
- Raise the Nation: This program assist low-income single mothers in funding for education and also helps them to repay any outstanding loans that they may have. Their goal is to allow these women and their children to have a fresh new start in life.
- Women’s Opportunity Awards: This organization is looking to assist women who are trying to leave behind a life of poverty, abuse, or drug addiction. They provide funding for education and child care if needed.
Family Violence Prevention And Services/Grants For Battered Women’s Shelters-Discretionary Grants
Extended by the Department of Health and Human Services, this organization assists abused and battered women who are seeking to find a way out. They provide assistance in finding housing, counseling for mothers and children, and funding for education.
The goal of this organization is to help abused women get out of the situation they are in, and start new lives for themselves and their children. All applicants must meet the eligibility requirements specified in the Federal Register or Commerce Business Daily announcement.
The R.O.S.E. Fund
The R.O.S.E. Fund is a foundation whose motto is “Regaining One’s Self-Esteem.” Their goal is to break the silence of domestic violence. They are trying to educate young girls about the effects of domestic violence on them and their families.
They empower victims of abuse by helping them to rebuild their lives through friendship, community, and education. They assist with housing, counseling, and funding for college for vocational school. They ask that the recipients of this funding pay it back by stopping the cycle of abuse and helping other domestic abuse victims learn how to stand up for themselves and take control of their own lives.
To learn more about this foundation, visit www.rosefund.org.
R.O.S.E. Scholarship at UMASS Boston
This organization awards scholarships to battered and abused women who have applied and been accepted to UMASS Boston. All applicants must be enrolled for a minimum of 9 credit hours to be considered for this scholarship. Applicants who carry average GPAs will be most likely to be awarded the scholarship.
R.O.S.E. Scholarship at Pine Manor College
The R.O.S.E. Scholarship fund is available to survivors of domestic violence who have applied and been accepted to Pine Manor College. To qualify for this scholarship, applicants must be enrolled for a minimum of 12 credit hours. Recipients of this scholarship will be chosen on a basis of financial need and academic excellence.
Lancing Community College Women’s Resource Center
This organization offers scholarships to women who are low-income, single mothers, displaced homemakers, disabled, former drug addicts, and victims of domestic violence. These women must be interested in bettering themselves through nontraditional career training. Depending upon their financial need, some women will receive free tuition and textbooks. The funding may also include assistance with child care as well as transportation.
Soroptimist Women’s Opportunity Awards
This organization works with clubs in 19 countries to assist women who have become the sole provider for their families due to domestic violence in their households.
Every year, Soroptimist Women’s Opportunity distributes over one million dollars in an effort to educate these women so they can move into more prosperous jobs in order to support their families. They provide funding to assist with tuition expenses, books, transportation, and child care.
Recipients of these awards are chosen according to their financial needs as well as their abilities to adjust to the positive changes in their lifestyles. For more information, visit www.soroptimist.org.
William S. Abell Foundation
This foundation provides funding for abused and battered women and their children. They will assist with emergency legal and social services, crisis counseling, health services, housing, and educational funding.
Battered Women’s Foundation
The Battered Women’s Foundation (BWF) is an independent non-profit organization based in Texas that works to assist female victims of domestic violence by providing them with long-term care after the women have left their abusive relationships. This care includes emergency food and clothing, housing, child care, transportation, medical care, counseling, self-esteem building skills, and funding for education.
Through donations and volunteers, the Battered Women’s Foundation helps domestic abuse victims with anything that will support them in getting out of the bad situation they are in, and into an independent and healthy lifestyle.
Women’s Opportunity Scholarship Fund
The goal of this foundation is to assist battered women who would like to attend a North Dakota college, university, or trade school. These funds will assist the recipients of this award with tuition and other expenses involving school. This organization’s goal is to break the circle of violence and take a stand for women.
- The applicant must be a resident of North Dakota.
- The applicant must be enrolled in one of North Dakota’s colleges, universities, vocational, or trade schools.
- The applicant must be considered low-income according to federal poverty guidelines.
- The applicant must have career goals for the future.
For more information regarding this scholarship, visit www.ndcaws.org.
Allstate Foundation & National Network
In an effort to end domestic abuse, Allstate Foundation along with the National Network provides funding for women of domestic violence who have left their abusers and want to better themselves through education. Recipients of this award will receive $1,000 to be used towards their educational expenses.
In order to qualify for this funding, the applicants must have experienced domestic abuse, been considered low-income according to federal standards, and left the situation they were in.
Scholarships For Victims of Domestic Abuse
The Scholarships for Victims of Domestic Abuse has established the Change Your World Scholarship. This scholarship has been set up to assist woman victims of spousal abuse with funding for higher education. The Change Your Life Scholarship may be used to pay college tuition and expenses, transportation, and child care. Women with small children will take priority regarding this scholarship.
To be eligible, the applicant must have been living away from her abuser for a minimum of one year, but no longer than five years. Applications will be accepted before every semester. The applicant may continue to apply until she has been granted the scholarship.
All recipients of this scholarship are required to participate in a mentorship program through any non-profit organization that specializes in victims of domestic abuse.
Earn My Degree.com
EarnMyDegree.com offers scholarships for battered and abused women. This Clinton, Iowa-based school will provide funding for qualified applicants who want to leave their abusive life behind to better themselves through higher education. This scholarship will cover the cost of tuition, books, application fees, and technology costs in the online degree program.
- The applicant must be a female survivor of spousal abuse.
- The applicant must be legally separated from her abuser.
- The applicant must be able to show financial need of assistance.
- The applicant must have definite career goals.
- The applicant must have a high school diploma or a GED.
Accounting Scholarships For Women In Transition
This organization specializes in assisting women who have been through divorce, women who are the sole source of support for their families, and women who have survived domestic abuse. The amount of the scholarship is $16,000 to be distributed over a four-year period. Special consideration will be given to minority women. The scholarship is awarded based on financial need and prior academic status.
General Federation of Women’s Clubs
The General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC) is a national organization that fights to end domestic violence. Their goal is to increase awareness about domestic violence and educate young girls before it is too late. They have established the GFWC Success for Survivors Scholarship to assist abused and battered women.
Every year, this organization awards scholarships to eight different domestic survivors. The amount of each scholarship is $1,000. These scholarships are funded through the GFWC Signature Project: Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Fund.
- Applicant must be a domestic abuse survivor.
- Applicant must be a citizen or legal resident of the United States.
- Applicant must have a strong desire to better herself through higher education.
- Applicant must have attainable career goals.
- Applicant must be sponsored by a CFWC member who is willing to be a mentor to her throughout her educational years.
- The application must have a written recommendation from a non-profit domestic violence service agency.
Applications are reviewed by a committee which will determine the scholarship winners on a basis of financial need, academic performance, and leadership ability. The scholarship funds may be used for college tuition and expenses, textbooks, and transportation. For more information on this scholarship, visit www.gfwc.org.
Zonta Club of Bonita Springs, Inc.
The Zonta Club of Bonita Springs is an organization that works to combat violence against women. Through donations from various organizations, the Zonta Club provides grants and scholarships to women survivors of domestic violence who would like to pursue higher education in order to become independent.
The amount of scholarship money is typically $2,000 per recipient. Every year, Zonta Club awards at least two scholarships to domestic abuse survivors.
To qualify for these scholarships, applicants must be battered and abused women who have been separated from their abusers for at least 3 months. Applicants must also have a high school education or a GED. The award winners are chosen according to their financial needs, previous academic standing, and future goals.
For more information on these scholarships, or to make a donation, visit www.zontabonitasprings.org.
Alpha Chi Omega
The Alpha Chi Omega organization has a mission to end domestic violence against women. Every year, this organization awards several scholarships to abused women who are ready to take a stand and further their education. The amount of funding provided can vary depending on investments and donations made throughout the year. Women who have been victims of domestic abuse and can prove financial need for assistance may apply. For more information, visit www.alphachiomega.org.
End Violence Against Women International
End Violence Against Women International (EVAW) is an organization that fights domestic violence by providing scholarships to abused and battered women. They have established the Professional Development Scholarships Fund which provides funding for deserving women survivors of domestic violence.
Each scholarship is in the amount of $1,000. The funds must be used for college tuition and expenses. All applicants must be enrolled in an accredited university or vocational program. The recipients of this award are selected according to their financial needs as well as their prior academic performances.
For more information regarding this scholarship, visit www.evawintl.org.
Click to Empower Domestic Violence Survivors
This organization has established the Moving Ahead Grant program which provides scholarships to battered and abused women who want to further their education and move ahead with their lives. The amount of funding provided is $1,000 per recipient. These funds may be used for tuition expenses, transportation, textbooks, certifications, school supplies, employment uniforms, or child care.
- All applications must be submitted by a non-profit domestic violence organization on behalf of the abused woman.
- The applicant must be able to prove financial need for assistance.
- The applicant must be separated from her abuser for a minimum of six months.
For more information or to apply, visit www.nnedv.org.
Ashford University offers two scholarships to women who are survivors of domestic violence. These domestic abuse survivors must be enrolled in the Clinton YWCA’s Battered Women program. The scholarships will cover full tuition to the university as well as the cost of textbooks, lab fees, application fees, and technology costs. Applications are available at the YMCA center in Clinton, Iowa. This university has a goal of allowing abused and battered women access to higher education while in a safe environment.
- Applicants must be self-admitted domestic abuse survivors.
- Applicants must have been separated from their abusers for a minimum of six months.
- Applicants must be enrolled in the Clinton YMCA’s Battered Women Program.
- The applicants must show proof of financial need of assistance.
- The applicants must provide transcripts of prior education.
- The applicants must have been in good academic standing.
- The applicants must have serious future career plans.
For more information regarding these scholarships, visit www.redorbit.com.
AAUW Fellowships And Grants
The AAUW’s motto is “Breaking through barriers for women and girls.” For more than one hundred years, the AAUW has assisted over 10,000 women from over 130 countries to overcome their adversities and achieve their dreams through higher education. The applicants must undergo a highly competitive selection process in which financial need, academic excellence, and commitment to improvement are taken into consideration. The winners are selected by a committee of respected scholars, teachers, researchers, and practitioners.
- All applicants must be domestic abuse survivors.
- All applicants must be enrolled in an accredited university or technical program.
- All applicants must prove financial need for assistance.
- All applicants must have prior GPA of at least 3.0.
For further information or to apply for this scholarship, visit www.aauw.org.
Help for Battered and Abused Women: Escaping an Abusive Relationship
Getting out of an abusive relationship can be one of the hardest things a woman in that position will ever do. However, if she wants to take control of her life and go back to school, leaving her abuser must be her first big step.
Things that battered and abused women should know:
- All women deserve to be treated with respect. It is never okay for a partner to strike his wife or girlfriend.
- An abused woman is never to blame for the mistreatment she receives from her partner.
- All women deserve to live safe and happy lives which are free from fear.
- All children deserve to live in safe and happy homes, free from fear.
- No abused woman is alone. Even if she doesn’t have family, there are many people out there who want to help her.
- No matter how bad it seems, there is a way out.
How battered and abused women can safely get out:
- Come up with a plan of escape. Plan in detail how and when you will take the opportunity to get out. This should be done when the abuser is out of the house for several hours. If you have children who are old enough, tell them your plan so they know what to expect.
- If possible, try to put away some emergency cash before you leave.
- Be ready to leave in a hurry in case it is necessary. Have some bags packed and hidden away. Keep the car full of gas.
- If you have any friends or family, ask them for help. If they offer a place to stay for you and your children, take them up on it. This is not the time to be too proud to accept help.
- If you have no family or friends, find a battered women’s shelter in your area. There are domestic abuse hotlines that will help to find shelter for you and your children.
- As soon as you leave, go to the local police station and file for a restraining order against the abuser.
- Do not have any contact with him until you have to see him in the safety of a courtroom. Do not answer any of his phone calls. Block his number from your phone.
- Find counseling for you and your children. Many times, the battered women’s shelters will provide a minimum amount of counseling. Find long-term counseling so that you can properly heal and move on with your life.
Battered and Abused Women’s Shelters
These safe havens for women are set up all over the country to allow women and their children to break free from their abusive households. The shelter’s addresses are kept confidential so that abusers cannot come and find their partners. Although they are normally set up for short-term housing, the shelters have staff members who will help women find permanent residences.
Other services that some battered women’s shelters can provide are as follows:
- Financial assistance
- Health services
- Support groups
- Legal assistance
- Child care
- Educational opportunities
How to keep your new location a secret from your abuser:
- Change your phone number and make sure your new one is unlisted.
- Close your bank accounts and credit cards. Open new accounts at a different bank.
- For at least the first year, use a post office box to receive your mail rather than your home address. For this you may apply to an address confidentiality program. If you qualify for this service, the post office will confidentially forward your mail to your home.
- Change your normal routines such as your driving route to work or your regular supermarket. Change everything you can about your previous life. When you’re making a fresh new start, these changes will be good for you as well as your children.
Healing and Moving On With Life
When an abused woman has worked up the courage to leave the abusive relationship, she has already conquered half of the battle. This means that she is in fact strong enough to stand on her own two feet as an independent woman. She is now ready to make a fresh start and build a new life for herself and her children.
She will need to accept the help that is available to her, and take her new life one day at a time. With some counseling and a new, more confident attitude, she will come out of her previous nightmare as a happier, healthier, and stronger woman.
Rape Culture, Victim Blaming, and The Facts
What is Rape Culture?
Rape Culture is an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture. Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies, and the glamorization of sexual violence, thereby creating a society that disregards women’s rights and safety.
Examples of Rape Culture
- Blaming the victim (“She asked for it!”)
- Trivializing sexual assault (“Boys will be boys!”)
- Sexually explicit jokes
- Tolerance of sexual harassment
- Inflating false rape report statistics
- Publicly scrutinizing a victim’s dress, mental state, motives, and history
- Gratuitous gendered violence in movies and television
- Defining “manhood” as dominant and sexually aggressive
- Defining “womanhood” as submissive and sexually passive
- Pressure on men to “score”
- Pressure on women to not appear “cold”
- Assuming only promiscuous women get raped
- Assuming that men don’t get raped or that only “weak” men get raped
- Refusing to take rape accusations seriously
- Teaching women to avoid getting raped
One reason people blame a victim is to distance themselves from an unpleasant occurrence and thereby confirm their own invulnerability to the risk. By labeling or accusing the victim, others can see the victim as different from themselves. People reassure themselves by thinking, "Because I am not like her, because I do not do that, this would never happen to me." We need to help people understand that this is not a helpful reaction.
Why Is It Dangerous?
Victim-blaming attitudes marginalize the victim/survivor and make it harder to come forward and report the abuse. If the survivor knows that you or society blames her for the abuse, s/he will not feel safe or comfortable coming forward and talking to you.
Victim-blaming attitudes also reinforce what the abuser has been saying all along; that it is the victim’s fault this is happening. It is NOT the victim’s fault or responsibility to fix the situation; it is the abuser’s choice. By engaging in victim-blaming attitudes, society allows the abuser to perpetrate relationship abuse or sexual assault while avoiding accountability for his/her actions.
What Does Victim-Blaming Look Like?
Example of Victim-Blaming Attitude: “She must have provoked him into being abusive. They both need to change.”
Reality: This statement assumes that the victim is equally to blame for the abuse, when in reality, abuse is a conscious choice made by the abuser. Abusers have a choice in how they react to their partner’s actions. Options besides abuse include: walking away, talking in the moment, respectfully explaining why an action is frustrating, breaking up, etc. Additionally, abuse is not about individual actions that incite the abuser to hurt his partner, but rather about the abuser’s feelings of entitlement to do whatever he wants to his partner.
When friends and family remain neutral about the abuse and say that both people need to change, they are colluding with and supporting the abusive partner and making it less likely that the survivor will seek support.
How can men and women combat Rape Culture and Victim blaming?
- Avoid using language that objectifies or degrades women
- Speak out if you hear someone else making an offensive joke or trivializing rape
- If a friend says they have been raped, take your friend seriously and be supportive
- Think critically about the media’s messages about women, men, relationships, and violence
- Be respectful of others’ physical space even in casual situations
- Let survivors know that it is not their fault
- Hold abusers accountable for their actions: do not let them make excuses like blaming the victim, alcohol, or drugs for their behavior
- Always communicate with sexual partners and do not assume consent
- Define your own manhood or womanhood. Do not let stereotypes shape your actions.
- Be an Active Bystander!
Adapted from Marshall University and Center for Relationship Abuse Awareness
Dating and Domestic Violence Facts
FACT: Regardless of their actions, no one deserves to be physically, verbally or sexually abused. In fact, putting the blame for the violence on the victim is a way to manipulate the victim and other people. Batterers will tell the victim, "You made me mad," or, "You made me jealous," or will try to shift the burden by saying, "Everyone acts like that." Most victims try to placate and please their abusive partners in order to de-escalate the violence. The batterer chooses to abuse, and bears full responsibility for the violence.
FACT: Many victims love their partners despite the abuse, blame themselves, or feel as if they have no support system or resources outside of the relationship and so they feel as if they can’t leave. Furthermore, the period immediately after leaving an abusive relationship is extremely dangerous.
FACT: Jealousy and possessiveness are signs that the person sees you as a possession. They are one of the most common early warning sign of abuse
FACT: Abuse can come in many forms, such as sexual, physical, verbal, and emotional. When a person in a relationship repeatedly scares, hurts, or puts down the other person, it is abuse. Harassment, intimidation, forced or coerced isolation from friends and family and having an independent social life, humiliation, threats of harm to you or your family or pets, threats of suicide if you leave, violating your privacy, limiting your independence and personal choices are all examples of abuse.
FACT: While the majority of victims of domestic violence are women, men may also be victims of relationship violence. Men face many of the same barriers as women that prevent them from reporting abuse, but also face a different kind of stigma since many do not believe that men can be victims of dating/domestic violence.
FACT: The majority of men and young men in our community are not violent. The use of violence is a choice. Men who use violence in their relationships choose where and when they are violent. The large majority of offenders who assault their partners control their violence with others, such as friends or work colleagues, where there is no perceived right to dominate and control.
Stating that 'All men are violent' places the blame for the violence elsewhere and prevents the perpetrator from being responsible for his violence. The majority of men and women want and can be allies to help in the fight against this kind of violence.
FACT: As many as one-third of all high school and college-age young people experience violence in an intimate or dating relationship. Physical abuse is as common among high school and college-age couples as married couples.
Sexual Assault Facts
FACT: Men, women and children of all ages, races, religions, and economic classes can be and have been victims of sexual assault. Sexual assault occurs in rural areas, small towns and larger cities. It is estimated that one in three girls and one six boys will be sexually assaulted by the age of eighteen. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a rape or attempted rape occurs every 5 minutes in the United States.
FACT: Sexual assault is NEVER the victim’s fault. Sexual assault is a violent attack on an individual, not a spontaneous crime of sexual passion. For a victim, it is a humiliating and degrading act. No one “asks” for or deserves this type of attack.
FACT: Most sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows. Studies show that approximately 80%-90% of women reporting sexual assaults knew their assailant.
FACT: A sexual assault can happen anywhere and at any time. The majority of assaults occur in places ordinarily thought to be safe, such as homes, cars and offices.
FACT: Reported sexual assaults are true, with very few exceptions. According to CONNSACS, only 2% of reported rapes are false. This is the same rate of false reporting as other major crime reports.
FACT: Men can be, and are, sexually assaulted. Current statistics indicate that one in six men are sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Sexual assault of men is thought to be greatly under-reported.
FACT: Almost all sexual assaults occur between members of the same race. Interracial rape is not common, but it does occur.
FACT: Sexual assault is motivated by hostility, power and control. Sexual assaults are not motivated by sexual desire. Unlike animals, humans are capable of controlling how they choose to act on or express sexual urges.
FACT: Sexual offenders come from all educational, occupational, racial and cultural backgrounds. They are “ordinary” and “normal” individuals who sexually assault victims to assert power and control over them and inflict violence, humiliation and degradation.
FACT: Anytime someone is forced to have sex against their will, they have been sexually assaulted, regardless of whether or not they fought back or said "no". There are many reasons why a victim might not physically fight their attacker including shock, fear, threats or the size and strength of the attacker.
FACT: Survivors exhibit a spectrum of emotional responses to assault: calm, hysteria, laughter, anger, apathy, shock. Each survivor copes with the trauma of the assault in a different way.
Adapted from Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services (CONNSACS)