In 2011 the US Centers for Disease Control found that “nearly 20% of all women” suffered rape or attempted rape sometime in their life. More than a third of the victims were raped before the age of 18.
A woman’s physiological response to sexual contact is involuntary. In some cases, women can become physically aroused, produce natural lubrication, and even experience orgasms against their will during rape. One proposed explanation for this genital arousal in some women is that it acts as a preparatory mechanism which served in the past to protect women from genital injury during unwanted sex. This is in line with previous research showing that many women show vaginal lubrication when exposed to a broad array of sexual stimuli (even that involving chimps) regardless of stated preferences and subjective feelings.
Pregnancy may result from rape. The rate varies between settings and depends particularly on the extent to which non-barrier contraceptives are being used. A study of adolescents in Ethiopiafound that among those who reported being raped, 17% became pregnant after the rape, a figure which is similar to the 15–18% reported by rape crisis centres in Mexico. A longitudinal study in the United States of over 4000 women followed for 3 years found that the national rape related pregnancy rate was 5.0% per rape among victims aged 12–45 years, producing over 32,000 pregnancies nationally among women from rape each year. Experience of coerced sex at an early age reduces a woman’s ability to see her sexuality as something over which she has control.