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A study found that college students perceived a black victim of sexual assault to be less believable and more responsible for her assault than a white victim.

“Black women were and continue to be sorely in need of an antirape movement.” — Angela Davis (1989, p. 44)

woman and skateboard

For every black woman who reports rape, at least 15 black women do not report.


Find out more information from this fact sheet provided by the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault

African American girls and women 12 years old and older experienced higher rates of rape and sexual assault than white, Asian, and Latina girls and women from 2005-2010. (1)

40-60% of black women report being subjected to coercive sexual contact by age 18. (2)

4 in 10 black women have been subjected to intimate partner violence in their lifetimes. (3)

40% of confirmed sex trafficking survivors in the U.S are African-American. (4)

“Stereotypes regarding African American women’s sexuality, including terms like ‘Black jezebel,’ ‘promiscuous,’ and ‘exotic,’ perpetuate the notion that African American women are willing participants in their own victimization. However, these myths only serve to demean, obstruct appropriate legal remedies, and minimize the seriousness of sexual violence perpetrated against African American women.” (5)

A study found that college students perceived a black victim of sexual assault to be less believable and more responsible for her assault than a white victim. (6)

Some African American women’s decisions not to report their sexual assaults may be influenced by the criminal justice system’s history of treating European-American perpetrators and victims differently than perpetrators and victims of color. (7)

The number one killer of African-American females, ages 15 to 34, was homicide at the hands of an intimate partner or ex-partner. (8)

The African-American community experiences domestic violence at greater levels than White Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos. (9)

Black women comprise 8% of the U.S. population, but account for 20% of the intimate partner homicide victims. (10)


There is scarce research on male victims of sexual violence, and even more limited research focusing on Black men.

The articles listed below discuss the impact of sexual violence regarding adult Black men and Black children.

Jay Connor

"Silence and inaction have wreaked enough havoc on sexual assault victims. We owe it not only to ourselves, but to the black community as a whole, to erect sanctuaries where honesty, belief, encouragement and healing can be fostered."

G. Hylton

"As a society, we’re still learning how to discuss any kind of sexual assault — and conversations around the sexual abuse of Black boys are far, far rarer. Yet, these conversations need to happen, both for the survivors and for the men and women who love them."


Stephanie Hargrove

A look at child sexual abuse in the black community.


1. U.S. DOJ Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Female Victims of Sexual Violence, 1994-2010,” 2013

2. Black Women’s Blueprint, “The Truth Commission on Black Women and Sexual Violence,” 2012

3. ​National Center for Injury Prevention and Control and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary Report,” 2011.
4. ​Banks, Duren and Kyckelhahn, Tracey, “ Characteristics of Suspected Human Trafficking Incidents, 2008-2010”, The Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2011.
5. ​Women of Color Network, “Communities of Color: African American Women” 2014.
6. Donovan, “To Blame or Not to Blame: Influences of Target Race and Observer Sex on Rape Blame Attribution,” 2007.
​7. Women’s Institute for Leadership Development for Human Rights, “The Treatment of Women of Color Under U.S. Law: Violence,” 2001.
8. Bureau of Health Statistics, 1994; Sullivan and Rumptz, 1994
​9. Rennison & Welchan, 2000; Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000
​10. Homicide Reports, 1976-1999

African-American & Black Communities: Text
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