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Since 2011, NAPIESV’s work in the United States is funded by the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW).  NAPIESV is funded to provide training and technical assistance to A&PI-led and mainstream programs to enhance their services to victims/survivors of sexual violence from the AP&I communities in the United States and in the U.S. Territories in the Pacific.

NAPIESV activities from 2011 to present includes the following:

  • Completed a Community Listening Project co-written by Mia Mingus.
  • Co-created a Curriculum based off of the Community Listening Project in collaboration with AF3IRM, Mia Mingus, Amita Swadhin, and Banteay Srei.
  • NAPIESV partnered with AF3IRM in transnational work by funding two AF3IRM members to assist in the areas devastated by Typhoon Haiyan in 2015.
  • In 2015, NAPIESV and AF3IRM also worked with the Muslim communities in Zamboanga City who were displaced after the Philippines military attacked a Muslim neighborhood.
  • NAPIESV partnered with Moro People’s Campaign, a Philippines-based Muslim group, to establish a Moro women-led business. NAPIESV funded members of Moro People’s Campaign to learn from organizations in Jakarta, Indonesia.
  • NAPIESV has provided training and technical assistance to enhance sexual assault services to the API communities in the continental U.S. and the U.S. Territories in the Pacific.
  • In 2018, NAPIESV hosted a roundtable discussion on justice and survivorship, inviting both API individuals and other people of color.

SA + API Communities

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2024), more than half of women and nearly one in three men have experienced sexual violence involving physical contact at some point in their lives. In another study, Breiding, Chen, and Black (2014) found that nearly one in 10 women had been raped by an intimate partner in her lifetime. This study also found that approximately one in 45 men had also been forcibly penetrated by an intimate partner during their lifetime.

Additionally, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), lesbian, gay, and bisexual people experience sexual violence at similar or higher rates than heterosexual people. Based upon the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, nearly 50% of transgender people have been sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime. These forms of violence are often coupled with physical assaults or abuse. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010), women of color experience higher rates of sexual violence than their white counterparts. A survey of adult women showed that in 2010, 22 percent of non-Hispanic blacks, 18.8 percent of non-Hispanic whites, 14.6 percent of Hispanics and 35.5 percent of women of multiple races said they had experienced an attempted or a completed rape at some time in their lives. These numbers suggest that sexual violence is a pervasive part of many communities and lives. Missing from these numbers are the stories, experiences, and analyses from those impacted by sexual violence.

In particular, there is a need to examine the rates and historical as well as contemporary experiences of sexual violence in the API communities.

According to a report conducted by NAPIESV (2013),

“sexual violence has been used throughout our histories of (and current experiences with) imperialism, colonialism, war, militarization, sex trafficking, refugee and internment camps, and immigration.”

Despite the history of sexual violence within and against API communities, there are limited statistics and scholarship about the topic. There are very few studies that examine the ways that sexual violence is experienced and understood within API communities. This absence exists despite limited but clear statistical evidence of occurrence. For instance, according to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey Summary Report (2010), “1 in 3 API women surveyed reported experiencing sexual violence victimization (not including rape) in their lifetime.” Despite these reported numbers, sexual violence within and against API communities is still understudied.

API Population

The U.S. Asian population grew 72% between 2000 and 2015 (from 11.9 million to 20.4 million), the fastest growth rate of any major racial or ethnic group, according to the Pew Research Center. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the number at 21.4 million in 2016. In 2015, 24% of Asian Americans (4.9 million) were of Chinese origin, followed by 20% of Indian origin (4 million), and 19% of Filipino origin (3.9 million). The others in the top five were Asians from Vietnam (1.9 million); Korea (1.8 million); and Japan (1.4 million).

The Asian American community is concentrated mainly in urban areas, with nearly three-quarters of them living in metropolitan areas with populations greater than 2.5 million, and less than 5% living in rural areas. The five top states with large proportions of Asians are California, New York, Texas, New Jersey, and Hawai’i. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states that, according to the 2015 Census Bureau estimate, there were about 1.3 million Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders alone or in combination with one or more races who live within the United States, representing about 0.4% of the total U.S. population. The 2016 census estimate lists Native Hawaiians at 582,480, followed by Samoans at 207,000 and Chamorro at 150,520. States that have a significant Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander population are Hawai’i, California, Washington, Texas, Nevada, and Utah.

API communities in the United States are diverse in ethnicity, language, religion, education, income, and immigration history. According to a 2017 Pew Research Center report, among all races and ethnicities, Asians were least likely to say they had a disability (6.9%), although the U.S. 2010 Census found that 14.5% of the total Asian population had a disability. Meanwhile, in 2015, 7 in 10 Asians ages 5 and older spoke English proficiently, but this share varies widely across Asian subgroups, the Pew Research Center pointed out, adding that 68% speak a language other than English at home. The states with the largest number of limited English proficient (LEP) persons who identify as Asian are California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Texas. Language barriers are a significant risk factor in accessing victim services, and organizations based in marginalized communities have to be cognizant of this phenomenon.