Sexual assault is a violation of women's human rights that may be perpetrated by state actors such as the police or military. Women are vulnerable to sexual abuse and assault when they are in state custody and by state "custodians" while in hospitals or nursing homes. Women are also sexually assaulted and abused during and after armed conflict. During conflict, rape is used as a weapon of war. Refugee women are particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation.
Sexual assault may also be perpetrated by non-state actors, such as acquaintances, dating partners, or current or former spouses and boyfriends. Only a small percentage of rapes are perpetrated by strangers. A study of the extent, nature and consequences of intimate partner violence in the United States found that nearly two-thirds of women who had been raped as adults had been raped by a current or former spouse or dating partner. Approximately twenty percent were raped by an acquaintance, and six percent were raped by a relative. Only 16.7% of women surveyed were raped by a stranger.
From Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence, Patricia Tjaden & Nancy Thoennes, U.S. Department of Justice 43 (2000).
Such assaults are violations of women's human rights when the state fails to take sufficient steps to protect women from such violence or to punish perpetrators. In addition, states may not discriminate between men and women and must investigate and punish assaults of women committed by intimate partners as thoroughly and aggressively as they do assaults committed by strangers or assaults committed against men.
The Advocates for Human Rights Site Map About the Site
330 Second Avenue South, Suite 800, Minneapolis, MN 55401 USA Phone: (612) 341-3302 Fax: (612) 341-2971 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Although Stop Violence Against Women endeavors to provide useful and accurate information, Stop Violence Against Women does not warrant the accuracy of the materials provided. Accordingly, this Web Site and its information are provided "AS IS" without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular use or purpose, or non-infringement. Some jurisdictions do not allow the exclusion of implied warranties, so the above exclusion may not apply to you. We reserve the right to make improvements and/or changes in the format and/or content of the information contained on the Web Site without notice.This information is provided with the understanding that Stop Violence Against Women and its partners are not engaged in rendering legal or other professional services. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought.
Copyright © 2010 The Advocates for Human Rights. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to use this material for non-commercial purposes with proper attribution to The Advocates for Human Rights.