Sexual Assault Risk Reduction and Resistance - Chapter 12: Sexual Violence As a Global Health Problem: Current Evidence and Future Directions

Elsevier, Sexual Assault Risk Reduction and Resistance: Theory, Research, and Practice, 2018, Pages 291-308
Caroline Kuo, Catherine Mathews, Naeemah Abrahams

This chapter provides an overview of the global prevalence of sexual violence and a summary of empirically supported approaches to reduce risk of sexual violence and identifies promising directions for future research. Overall, global data indicate that sexual violence disproportionately affects women and girls. Given the gender disparities in violence and availability of existing data, much of the evidence presented in this chapter necessarily focuses on the burden of sexual violence among women and girls. The prevalence of sexual and/or physical violence varies widely across the globe with sub-Saharan Africa reporting the highest prevalence for both intimate partner and nonpartner sexual and/or physical violence against women. Women, children (particularly girls), individuals with disabilities, and sexual minority populations are at disproportionate risk of experiencing sexual violence. There has been a growth of empirical evidence on interventions to reduce risk of sexual violence in a variety of global settings. Given the geographic, age, and population-specific disparities in prevalence of sexual violence, there is no single intervention solution. Promising theoretically based approaches toward risk reduction interventions include gender-transformative interventions grounded in gender theory, empowerment theory, social-cognitive models for behavior change, resilience theory, and social norms theory. Further research is needed to address gaps in empirical data in geographical regions and populations where data are sparse. Future improvements of the empirical evidence base to advance our efforts to reduce sexual violence globally are also discussed.