: Sexual Violence + Asians & Pacific Islander Communities

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2011), nearly 1 in 5 women in the United States has reported being raped in her lifetime.  In another study, Breiding, Chen, and Black (2014) found that nearly one in 10 women had been raped by an intimate partner in her lifetime. This study also found that approximately one in 45 men had also been forcibly penetrated by an intimate partner during their lifetime.

Additionally, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), lesbian, gay, and bisexual people experience sexual violence at similar or higher rates than heterosexual people.  Based upon the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, nearly 50% of transgender people have been sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime. These forms of violence are often coupled with physical assaults or abuse. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010), women of color experience higher rates of sexual violence than their white counterparts. A survey of adult women showed that in 2010, 22 percent of non-Hispanic blacks, 18.8 percent of non-Hispanic whites, 14.6 percent of Hispanics and 35.5 percent of women of multiple races said they had experienced an attempted or a completed rape at some time in their lives. These numbers suggest that sexual violence is a pervasive part of many communities and lives. Missing from these numbers are the stories, experiences, and analyses from those impacted by sexual violence.

In particular, there is a need to examine the rates and historical as well as contemporary experiences of sexual violence in the API communities.  According to a report conducted by NAPIESV (2013),

“sexual violence has been used throughout our histories of (and current experiences with) imperialism, colonialism, war, militarization, sex trafficking, refugee and internment camps, and immigration.”

Despite the history of sexual violence within and against API communities, there are limited statistics and scholarship about the topic. There are very few studies that examine the ways that sexual violence is experienced and understood within API communities. This absence exists despite limited but clear statistical evidence of occurrence. For instance, according to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey Summary Report (2010), “1 in 3 API women surveyed reported experiencing sexual violence victimization (not including rape) in their lifetime.” Despite these reported numbers, sexual violence within and against API communities is still understudied.