Exposure to potentially traumatic events (PTEs) increases an individual’s risk of suffering from psychiatric disorders. However, only a small proportion of individuals exposed to PTEs use health care services (HCS). Few studies have examined how exposure to different types of PTEs affect the odds an individual will suffer from a psychiatric disorder and access HCS. The present study aimed to examine the associations among lifetime exposure to sexual and nonsexual violence, psychiatric disorder presence, and utilization of HCS. Data were drawn from a large cross‐sectional survey (N = 19,958) representative of four regions of France. Lifetime occurrence of traumatic events, past‐year DSM‐IV Axis I psychiatric disorders, and past‐year use of HCS were assessed using the CIDI‐SF. Lifetime exposure to violence, particularly sexual violence, was associated with significantly higher odds of suffering from common psychiatric disorders in the past year, including major depression, aOR = 1.70, 95%CI [1.34, 2.17], which was present among 36.9% of participants who reported sexual violence exposure, 20.9% of those who reported exposure to nonsexual violence, and 7.1% of those exposed to neither. Compared to participants who were not exposed to sexual violence, victims of sexual violence were more likely to have contacted health care professionals due to a mental health problem and to have received psychotropic medication. However, a significant portion of individuals with psychiatric disorders did not report receiving potentially beneficial HCS. The present findings highlight the need to identify victims of violence and improve access to appropriate services for this population.