Sexual violence is a serious public health issue that impacts everyone, regardless of age, race, gender, or sexual orientation. Sexual violence is any sexual activity when consent was not given. Anyone can experience sexual violence, but most victims are female. The person responsible for the violence can be a friend, intimate partner, coworker, neighbor, or family member. Most perpetrators are male and are usually someone the victim knows.
Nationally, more than 1 in 3 women and nearly 1 in 4 men experienced sexual violence involving physical contact in their lifetime. In Maryland, it is estimated that 1 in 5 (or 466,000) adult women have been forcibly raped and 1 in 6 (or 359,000) adult men have experienced sexual violence in their lifetimes (NISVS, 2010).
Together, we can stop sexual violence before it starts. Stopping violence before it happens is a Maryland Department of Health priority. It can be prevented.