Live Without Fear

  • Two people educating a class on domestic violence and sexual assault.

Understand the Problem

Did you know?

  • Over 100 domestic violence-related homicides occur in Michigan every year.
  • One in three Michigan families are impacted by domestic violence.
  • More than one million people report a violent assault by a partner every year in the U.S.
  • The dollars spent on national health-care costs attributed to domestic violence and sexual assaults have gone up dramatically.

It’s obvious that domestic violence and sexual assault represent serious problems in our state and in our country. But why?

Unequal balance of power

Domestic violence and sexual assault know no boundaries. They affect all races, all ethnicities, and all economic classes. While both men and women can be victims of violence, violence against women, often at the hands of men, is the more common scenario. The reason for this is rooted in the historical and current unequal balance of power between men and women and boys and girls. In the U.S., approximately 98% of batterers are male, and while the statistics here at home are staggering, violence against women reinforces men’s power and control over women throughout the world.

Learn more about understanding your role in prevention.


On some level, most of us unknowingly participate in the culture that supports and encourages violence against women and girls. Like when we tell our friends to “man up” when they have to do something difficult or when we laugh at sexist jokes. But there are also bigger ways culture supports and encourages violence. For example, when a manager makes light of a sexual harassment complaint, when celebrities accused of domestic violence receive special treatment, or when people don’t speak out against the beating and raping of women and girls.

Learn more about understanding the culture of abuse.

Get the Facts

Listed below are some common statistics that illustrate just how much our society, on both a local and national level, is affected by domestic violence and sexual assault.

By sharing these facts, we hope to create awareness and inform others about the devastating effects of domestic and sexual violence.

  • One in three Michigan families are impacted by domestic violence.1
  • In the U.S., one in five women and 1 in 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape.2
  • Approximately one in five female high school students reports being physically or sexually abused by a dating partner.3
  • 70% of teenage and college women who are sexually assaulted are raped during the course of a date.4
  • One out of three women are affected by domestic violence.5
  • More than 1 million people report a violent assault by a partner every year in the U.S.6
  • National health-care costs for domestic violence are approximately $4.1 billion.7
  • Among women admitted to the emergency room, 37% were abused by an intimate partner.8
  • One out of four women will be abused by a current/former partner at one point in their lives.9
  • Domestic violence crimes account for almost 40% of calls to police.10
  • Over 100 domestic violence-related homicides occur in Michigan each year.11
  • Approximately 98% of batterers in the U.S. are male.12
  • Domestic violence can be attributed to 50% of the homeless cases among women and children.13
  • Women are victims in 85%–95% of all reported domestic violence.14


  • 1Michigan Family Independence Agency, Domestic Violence Treatment and Prevention Board, 1996 (statewide survey of women ages 18–69).
  • 2U.S. Department of Justice, Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey (1998).
  • 3Dating violence against adolescent girls and associated substance use, unhealthy weight control, sexual risk behavior, pregnancy, and suicidality,” Journal of American Medicine, Vol. 286, No. 5, August 1, 2001.
  • 4Children Now, Kaiser Permanente Poll, December 1995.
  • 5Collins, K., Schoen, C., Joseph, S., Duchon, L. Simantov, E. & Yellowitz, M. (1999). Health Concerns Across A Woman’s Lifespan: The Commonwealth Fund. 1998 Survey of Women’s Health.
  • 6U. S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics (2000). Intimate Partner Violence. NCJ 178247.
  • 7U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (March, 2003). Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • 8Rand, M., U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Violence-Related Injuries Treated in Hospital Emergency Room Departments” (1997). Biroscak, B.J., Smith, P.K., “Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in Michigan: Findings from Emergency Department Surveillance, 1999–2000.” Lansing, MI: Michigan Department of Community Health: August 2003.
  • 9Tjaden, P. & Thoennes, N., National Institute of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence” (2000).
  • 10Michael Cassidy, Caroline G. Nicholl, & Carmen R. Ross (2001). Results of a survey conducted by the Metropolitan Police Department of victims who reported violence against women. Available from the DC Metropolitan Police Department (202) 727-5029.
  • 11Michigan Uniform Crime Report: http://www.michigan.gov/msp/0,1607,7-123-1645_3501_4621---,00.html
  • 12Callie Marie Rennison (2001). Intimate Partner Violence and Age of Victim, 1993–1999. Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice. NCJ #187635.
  • 13Workplace Violence Institute.
  • 14U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics (February 2003). Intimate Partner Violence, 1993–2001. NCJ 197838, p. 1.

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