Sexual Violence Data

Data — By on February 2, 2011 12:27 am


The National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV) is the most comprehensive nationwide survey of the incidence and prevalence of children’s exposure to violence to date.  It was sponsored by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Conducted between January and May 2008, it measured the past-year and lifetime exposure to violence for children age 17 and younger across several major categories: conventional crime, child maltreatment, victimization by peers and siblings, sexual victimization, witnessing and indirect victimization (including exposure to community violence and family violence), school violence and threats, and internet victimization. This survey is the first comprehensive attempt to measure children’s exposure to violence in the home, school, and community across all age groups from birth to age 17, and the first attempt to measure the cumulative exposure to violence over the child’s lifetime.

  • Overall, 6.1 % of all children surveyed had been sexually victimized in the past year and nearly 1 in 10 (9.8 %) over their lifetimes.
  • Adolescents ages 14-17 were by far the most likely to be sexually victimized; nearly one in six (16.3 %) was sexually victimized in the past year, and more than one in four (27.3 %) had been sexually victimized during their lifetimes.  The most common forms of sexual victimization were flashing or exposure by a peer, sexual harassment, and sexual assault.
  • Girls were more likely than boys to be sexually victimized: 7.4 % of girls reported a sexual victimization within the past year, and nearly one in eight (12.2 %) reported being sexually victimized during their lifetimes.  Girls ages 14 to 17 had the highest rates of sexual victimization: 7.9 % were victims of sexual assault in the past year and 18.7 percent during their lifetimes. 

Illinois Data – YRBS (2009)

9.0% of Illinois students reported that they had been forced to have sexual intercourse over the past year.  This is slightly down from the 2007 YRBSS (9.4%).  Rates were highest among Latinos (11.4%) and multiracial youth (17.7%).

Overall, girls reported higher rates of forced sexual intercourse (10.8%) than boys (7.1%).  However, among Latinos, this trend was reversed, with 12.6% of boys reporting they had experienced forced sexual intercourse, as compared to 10.2% of girls.

The prevalence of having been forced to have sexual intercourse ranged from 6.4% to 13.2% across state surveys (median: 8.8%), putting Illinois above the national average.

Female Male Total
White 10.9% 5.1% 7.9%
Black 11.1% 6.7% 9.1%
Hispanic 10.2% 12.6% 11.4%
Asian N/A N/A 6.4%
Multiple Race N/A N/A 17.7%
TOTAL 10.8 7.1 9.0


Forced Sexual Intercourse

In Chicago, 9.0% of students had ever been physically forced to have sexual intercourse when they did not want to.  This is down from 11.3% in 2007.

The prevalence of having been forced to have sexual intercourse was higher among male (9.1%) than female (8.7%) students.

In Chicago, the prevalence of forced sexual intercourse was higher among white (9.3%) and Hispanic (9.2%) students than Black (7.9%) high school students; higher among Hispanic female (8.6%) than Black female (8.4%) students; and higher among Hispanic male (9.7%) than Black male (7.5%) students.

Prevalence of having been forced to have sexual intercourse ranged from 6.0% to 12.0% across local surveys (median: 7.9%). Chicago youth were above the median though not at the highest reported rate of forced sexual intercourse.

Female Male Total
White N/A N/A 9.3%
Black 8.4% 7.5% 7.9%
Hispanic 8.6% 9.7% 9.2%
TOTAL 8.7 9.1 9.0

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Surveillance Summaries, June 4, 2010.  MMWR 2010:59 (No.SS-5).

VIOLENCE BY PIMPS – from the Status of Girls in Illinois report

Girls also face violence when recruited into the sex trade, and further violence once they became involved.  For example, 24% of Chicago young women (16 – 25 years old) who had been recruited into the sex trade reported being slapped during the process of recruitment; 71% had been slapped by pimps by the time they were interviewed for the research study.  Twenty percent stated that they were sexually assaulted during recruitment; 47% reported sexual assault by the time of their interview.  10% said they were kicked during recruitment; 43% stated they had been kicked by the time of the interview. The more customers they had, the more violence they faced over time.  The average age at which girls were recruited to work in the sex trade was 16 years old; about a third of the girls responding had been recruited between the ages of 12 and 15.

Comparison of violence by pimps during recruitment and at time of interview

Violent Acts DuringRecruitment At Time ofInterview
Slapping 24% 71%
Punching 14% 48%
Pulling hair 11% 31%
Pinching 4% 17%
Spanking 10% 26%
Kicking 10% 43%
Kidnapping 5% 18%
Ripping clothes 8% 24%
Throwing objects 11% 28%
Threatening sexual assault 9% 23%
Sexual assault 20% 47%
Other 2% 9%

[1] Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. Prostitution study finds Chicago girls trafficked through coercion, violence. Jessica Ashley, ICJIA senior research analyst.

Research Journal. Sept. 2008 Vol 7, No. 1

Date Accessed: February 2009

A 2009 study by the Young Women’s Empowerment Project (YWEP), a Chicago group led by and for girls and transgender girls impacted by the sex trade and street economy, focused on girls’resilience and survival strategies. The girls collected qualitative data and had 205 responses, including transgender girls (18), homeless girls (54), pregnant girls (44) and girls who said they were mothers (52). All of the girls were involved in different aspects of the sex trade and street economies.  YWEP’s findings highlighted the resilience and resistance methods girls used when experiencing both individual and institutional violence. One of the study’s key findings is that “the individual violence that girls experience is enhanced by the institutional violence that they experience from systems and services.” The study found that girls are denied help from systems that are designed to help them. The Division of Children and Family Services, the police and legal system, hospitals, shelters, and drug treatment facilities were all identified by girls as denying them assistance because of their involvement in the sex trade, because of being transgender, or being queer, because of being young, because of being homeless, and because of drug use.  Despite this persistent institutional violence, girls in the sex trade have well practiced methods of fighting back and healing.

Thanks to Shira Hassan from YWEP for this summary.  The full report from YWEP is available at