What affects your risk of becoming a victim?

Sexual abuse or assault can happen to anyone. The act of violence may come from a stranger, acquaintance, or from a close friend or family member. Many victims of abuse or assault know their attacker.

What factors may increase your chance for being a victim of abuse?

  • Abusing alcohol or drugs
  • Having an unplanned pregnancy
  • Having been abused as a child
  • Having certain medical conditions, such as:
    • Chronic pain
    • Mental health problems, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or depression
    • Personality disorders

What factors may be present when sexual assault occurs?

  • Dating many people at one time
  • Accepting any violent behavior in the dating relationship
  • Having a history of sexual abuse or assault
  • Ignoring feelings of discomfort or warning signs that someone is behaving inappropriately
  • Thinking men hold the power in a relationship
  • Being alone or in an unfamiliar environment
  • Depending on your dating partner for transportation
  • Feeling that your dating partner is in control because he or she asked you out and paid for the date
  • Using alcohol or drugs
  • Being part of a group that has a higher risk for sexual assault, such as:
    • The homeless
    • People with mental health problems
    • Sex workers
    • People with developmental delays
    • The elderly
    • Substance abusers
    • Teens

Last Updated: January 14, 2010

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