Regional Rape Crisis Service Statistics National Statistics The Victims of Sexual Assault Reporting Rape Punishing Rapists Effects of Rape
Regional Rape Crisis Service Statistics for 2006
- 1003 clients were provided crisis intervention and counseling services
- 575 were victims/survivors
- 425 were significant others and loved ones of victims
- 168 victims requested Rape Crisis support at area hospitals
- More than 78% of victims knew their assailants
- Approximately 20% of the assailants were strangers
From RAINN.org (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network)
- Every two and a half minutes, somewhere in America, someone is sexually assaulted.
- One in six American women are victims of sexual assault, and one in 33 men.
- In 2004-2005, there were an average annual 200,780 victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assault.
- About 44% of rape victims are under age 18, and 80% are under age 30.
- Since 1993, rape/sexual assault has fallen by over 69%.
More Than Half of Sexual Assaults Go Unreported
The National Crime Victimization Survey includes statistics on reported and unreported crimes in America. Sexual assault is one of the most underreported crimes, with more than half still being left unreported. Utilizing services such as The National Sexual Assault Hotline can help encourage victims to get help and report what has happened to them so that more perpetrators can be brought to justice.
Males are the least likely to report a sexual assault, though it is estimated they make up 10% of all victims. Young females are four times more likely than any other group to be a victim of sexual assault.
Is the incidence of rape and sexual assault increasing or decreasing in America?
Have you heard about crime declining? It is true (as best we can tell). While figures for any single year are considered somewhat unreliable because they are based on a small sample size, the more-reliable longterm trend looks extremely good. Since 1993, rape/sexual assault has fallen by more than half. Read a two page summary of major statistics (PDF, 70KB).
Sexual Assault is on a steady decline.
In 2005, there were 191,670 victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assaults according to the 2005 National Crime Victimization Survey.
Of the average annual 200,780 victims in 2004-2005, about 64,080 were victims of completed rape, 51,500 were victims of attempted rape, and 85,210 were victims of sexual assault.
Because of the methodology of the National Crime Victimization Survey, these figures do not include victims 12 or younger. While there are no reliable annual surveys of sexual assaults on children, the Justice Department has estimated that one of six victims are under age 12.
It's Not Always a Stranger Hiding in the Bushes
Contrary to the belief that rapists are hiding in the bushes or in the shadows of the parking garage, almost two-thirds of all rapes were committed by someone who is known to the victim. 73% of sexual assaults were perpetrated by a non-stranger - 38% of perpetrators were a friend or acquaintance of the victim, 28% were an intimate and 7% were another relative. National Crime Victimization Survey, 2005
RAINN's "two and a half minute" calculation is based on 2005 National Crime Victimization Survey from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice. Here are details of the calculation.
For more information and statistics, visit the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics.
The Victims of Sexual Assault
- One out of every six American women have been the victims of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime (14.8% completed rape;â€¨2.8% attempted rape). This is according to the Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence Against Women Survey, National Institute of Justice and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1998.
- A total of 17.7 million women have been victims of these crimes.
- In 2003, nine out of every ten rape victims were female according to the 2003 National Crime Victimization Survey.
- While about 80% of all victims are white, minorities are somewhat more likely to be attacked:
Lifetime rate of rape/attempted rape for women, according to the Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence Against Women Survey:
- All: 17.6%
- White: 17.7%
- Black: 18.8%
- Asian/Pacific Islander: 6.8%
- American Indian/Alaskan: 34.1%
- Mixed Race: 24.4%
- About three percent of American men - a total of 2.78 million men - have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime according to the 1998 Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence Against Women study.
- In 2003, one in every ten rape victims were male, according to the 2003 National Crime Victimization Study.
- 15% of victims are under age 12
- 29% are age 12-17
- 44% are under age 18
- 80% are under age 30
The statistics are according to the 1997 Sex Offense and Offenders Study, Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice and 1999 National Crime Victimization Study.
- Seven percent of girls in grades five to eight and twelve percent of girls in grades nine through twelve said they had been sexually abused according to the 1998 Commonwealth Fund Survey of the Health of Adolescent Girls.
- Three percent of boys in grades five through eight and five percent of boys in grades nine through twelve said they had been sexually abused according to the 1998 Commonwealth Fund Survey of the Health of Adolescent Boys.
- 93% of juvenile sexual assault victims knew their attacker; 34.2% were family members and 58.7% acquaintances. Only seven percent of the perpetrators were strangers to the victim, according to the 2000 Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law Enforcement. This study is available at the Bureau of Justice Statistics website.
- In 1995, local child protective service agencies identified 126,000 children who were victims of either substantiated or indicated sexual abuse; of these, 75% were girls. Nearly 30% of child victims were between the ages of 4 and 7. This is according to the 1995 Child Maltreatment study, US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.
- 12-34 are the highest risk years. Risk peaks in the late teens: girls 16 to 19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assault. This is according to the 2000 National Crime Victimization Study.
Among people 12 and older, about 83.5% of the US population is white, and 82.5% of rape victims are white; 13.3% of victims are black, compared to 12.3% of the population; and 4.2% of both victims and the population are of other races, according to the 2000 National Crime Victimization Study.
Should I Report My Attack to the Police?
We hope you will decide to report your attack to the police. While there's no way to change what happened to you, you can seek justice while helping to stop it from happening to someone else.
Reporting to the police is the key to preventing sexual assault: every time we lock up a rapist, we're preventing him or her from committing another attack. It's the most effective tool that exists to prevent future rapes. In the end, though, whether or not to report is your decision to make.
Am I required to report to police?
No, you are not legally obligated to report. The decision is entirely yours, and everyone will understand if you decided not to pursue prosecution. (You should be aware that the district attorney's office retains the right to pursue prosecution whether or not you participate, though it is uncommon for them to proceed without the cooperation of the victim. There are also times when a third party, such as a doctor or teacher, is required to report a suspicion of sexual abuse. Many victims say that reporting is the last thing they want to do right after being attacked. That's perfectly understandable - reporting can seem invasive, time consuming and difficult. Still, there are many good reasons to report, and some victims say that reporting helped their recovery and helped them regain a feeling of control.
How do I report the rape to police?
Call 911 (or ask a friend to call) to report your rape to police. Or, visit a hospital emergency room or your own doctor and ask them to call the police for you. If you visit the emergency room and tell the nurse you have been raped, the hospital will generally perform a sexual assault forensic examination. This involves collecting evidence of the attack, such as hairs, fluids and fibers, and preserving the evidence for forensic analysis. In most areas, the local rape crisis center can provide someone to accompany you, if you wish. Call 1.800.656.HOPE to contact the center in your area.
Is there a time limit on reporting to the police?
There's generally no legal barrier to reporting your attack even months afterwards. However, to maximize the chances of an arrest and successful prosecution, it's important that you report as soon as possible after the rape. If you aren't sure what to do, it's better to report now and decide later. That way, the evidence is preserved should you decide to pursue prosecution. Some states have statutes of limitations that bar prosecutions after a certain number of years. View information on your state.
What if I need time to think about whether I want to pursue prosecution?
Understandably, many people aren't ready to make the decision about prosecution immediately after an attack. It's normal to want time to think about the decision and talk it over with friends and family. If you think you might want to pursue prosecution, but haven't decided for sure, we recommend that you make the police report right away, while the evidence is still present and your memory is still detailed. The district attorney will decide whether or not to pursue prosecution, however it is unusual for cases to proceed without the cooperation of the victim. And if prosecution is pursued, the chance of success will be much higher if you reported, and had evidence collected, immediately after the attack. There's one additional consideration: If you are planning to apply for compensation through your state's Victim Compensation Fund, you will generally first have to report your attack to police to be eligible. Contact your local rape crisis center at 1.800.656.HOPE to learn about the rules in your state.
Can I report to police even if I have no physical injuries?
Yes. In fact, most rapes do not result in physical injuries. So, the lack of such injuries should not deter you from reporting. It's also important to get medical care and to be tested for sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy, even if you think you aren't injured. And keep in mind that rape can cause injuries, often internal, that aren't visible. Many hospitals have special equipment that can detect such hidden injuries.
The rapist got scared away before finishing the attack. Can I still report it?
Yes. Attempted rape is still a serious crime and should be reported.
I knew the person who raped me and invited him/her in. Can I still report it?
Yes. About 2/3 of victims know their attacker. And the fact that you were voluntarily together, or even invited him/her home with you, does not change anything. Rape is a serious crime, no matter what the circumstances.
Do I have to go through the police interview alone?
In most areas, a trained volunteer from your local rape crisis center can accompany you to the police interview. The volunteer can also answer your questions about the process and explain how it will work. To reach your local crisis center, call 1.800.656.HOPE (4673).
What's the reporting process?
In most cases, the police will come to you and take a statement about what occurred. It helps to write down every detail you can remember, as soon as possible, so you can communicate the details to the police. In addition to taking a statement, police will collect physical evidence. Also, your nurse or doctor may conduct an exam to collect hair, fluids, fibers and other evidence. The police interview may take as long as several hours, depending on the circumstances of your case. Some questions will probably feel intrusive, and the officer will probably go over the details of your attack several times. The extensive questioning isn't because the police don't believe you; it is the officer's job to get every detail down precisely, to make the strongest possible case against your rapist. Most local crisis centers have staff trained to help you through the reporting process. They can answer your questions and, if necessary, advocate on your behalf. To reach your local crisis center, call 1.800.656.HOPE (4673).
Do most rape victims report their attack to police?
Just over half of rape victims don't report the crime. However reporting is up substantially in the last decade. Our goal is have every rape reported to police, just as every murder is reported and investigated. It's the best way to get rapists off the streets and make sure they can't find new victims.
Why don't more people report their rape?
The most common reason given by victims (23%) is that the rape is a "personal matter." Another 16% of victims say that they fear reprisal, while about 6% don't report because they believe that the police are biased.
I'm not sure my rape is serious enough to report to police. The FBI ranks rape as the second-most violent crime, behind only murder. Every rape is a very serious crime that should be prosecuted, even if no physical injuries occur during the assault.
I'm afraid that if I report, I will regret it.
That's certainly possible. It's true that some people have a bad experience and wish they had never reported. But it is also the case that many people who don't report later regret that decision. In the end, this is a personal decision that only you can make.
I'm afraid that my actions will be scrutinized and I'll have to testify about intimate details of my personal life.
Many successful prosecutions end in a plea agreement, without trial, which means that the victim will not have to testify. However if your case does go to trial, you will generally have to testify. Although there are no guarantees, prosecutors have legal tools they can use to protect you in court. One tool is called a rape shield law, which limits what the defense can ask you about your prior sexual history. The prosecutor can also file legal motions to try to protect you from having to disclose personal information If you are worried about having to testify about intimate matters such as your own sexual history, let the police or prosecutor know about your concerns. They can explain the laws in your state and help you understand what might happen if you do go to trial.
I'm afraid the police won't take it seriously.
There has been great investment in police training in recent years. While there are occasional exceptions, most law enforcement officers are understanding and on your side. Many police departments participate in what are known as SARTs (Sexual Assault Response Teams), which provide a victim-sensitive, coordinated response to sexual assault that incorporates medical personnel, law enforcement and a crisis center representative to organize questioning, reduce repetition and facilitate communication among all the agencies involved. If you do encounter someone who isn't taking your case seriously, it's important to complain to his/her supervisor. You should also tell your local rape crisis center, which has people trained to advocate on your behalf.
I'm afraid of getting in trouble.
Sometimes victims, particularly youth, are afraid of getting in trouble for doing something they weren't supposed to be doing when the assault took place, such as drinking or sneaking out. While there's a possibility that you can get in trouble, most authorities (and parents) will be understanding, particularly about minor infractions.
What if I decide not to report?
Reporting is a very personal decision, and you should make the decision that's right for you. While we encourage you to report, if you decide not to, for whatever reason, that's perfectly understandable and there's no reason to feel bad about your decision.
The Rapist Isn't a Masked Man
- Approximately 73% of rape victims know their assailant, according to the 2005 National Crime Victimization Survey.
- Approximately 38% of victims are raped by a friend or acquaintance;
- 26% of victims by a stranger;
- 28% of victims by an intimate;
- 7% of victims by another relative;
- in 2% of cases the relationship is unknown.
He's Not Hiding in the Bushes
According to the 1997 Sex Offenses and Offenders study, Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice:
- About four out of ten sexual assaults take place at the victim's own home. Two in ten take place in the home of a friend, neighbor or relative. One in ten take place outside, away from home. And about one in 12 take place in a parking garage.
- More than half of all rape/sexual assault incidents were reported by victims to have occurred within one mile of their home or at their home.
- 43% of rapes occur between 6 pm and midnight. 24% occur between midnight and 6am. The other 33% take place between 6am and 6pm.
- The average age of rapists at arrest is 31. Fifty-two percent are white; twenty-two percent of imprisoned rapists report that they are married, according to the 1997 Sex Offenses and Offenders study.
- Juveniles accounted for about 16% of forcible rape arrestees in 1995 and 17% of those arrested for other sex offenses.
- In about one out of three sexual assaults, the perpetrator was intoxicated - 30% with alcohol, 4% with drugs, according to the 1998 Alcohol and Crime study, available on the Bureau of Justice Statistics website.
- In one study, 98% of males who raped boys reported that they were heterosexual according to the 1998 article Sexual Abuse of Boys in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
- In 2001, only about 11% of rapes involved the use of a weapon - three percent used a gun, six percent used a knife, and two percent used another form of weapon. 84% of victims reported the use of physical force only, and 5% were unsure. This is according to the 2003 National Crime Victimization Study.
- Rapists are more likely to be serial criminals than serial rapists. In one study, 46% of rapists who were released from prison were rearrested within 3 years of their release for another crime - 18.6% for a violent offense, 14.8% for a property offense, 11.2% for a drug offense and 20.5% for a public-order offense. This is according to the 2002 Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 1994 study.
What Happens to Rapists When They Are Caught and Prosecuted?
- 61% of rapes/sexual assaults are not reported to the police. Those rapists, of course, never serve a day in prison according to a statistical average of the past five years.
- If the rape is reported to police, there is a 50.8% chance that an arrest will be made.
- If an arrest is made, there is an 80% chance of prosecution.
- If there is a prosecution, there is a 58% chance of a felony conviction.
- If there is a felony conviction, there is a 69% chance the convict will spend time in jail.
- So, even in the 39% of attacks that are reported to police, there is only a 16.3% chance the rapist will end up in prison.
- Factoring in unreported rapes, about 6% of rapists - 1 out of 16 - will ever spend a day in jail. 15 out of 16 will walk free.
The probability statistics are compiled by the National Center for Policy Analysis from US Department of Justice statistics. See NCPA's website for additional information.
Effects of Rape
It is helpful to receive counseling and treatment after experiencing a sexual assault to start the healing process and avoid dealing with the trauma in unhealthy ways. According to The World Report on Violence and Health (WHO, 2002), in the absence of trauma counseling, negative psychological effects have been known to persist for at least a year following a rape.
Rape-Related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Many rape victims experience what is referred to as Rape-Related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (also called Rape Trauma Syndrome). The four major symptoms of this are:
- Re-Experiencing the Trauma: Rape victims may experience recurrent nightmares about the rape, flashbacks or may have an inability to stop remembering the rape.
- Social Withdrawal: This symptom has been called 'psychic numbing' and involves not experiencing feelings of any kind.
- Avoidance Behaviors and Actions: Victims may desire to avoid any feelings or thoughts that might recall to mind events about the rape.
- Increased Physiological Arousal Characteristics: This symptom can be marked by an exaggerated startle response, hyper-vigilance, sleep disorders or difficulty concentrating.
The Dangers of Youth
- 15% of victims are under age 12
- 29% are age 12-17
- 44% are under age 18
- 80% are under age 30 (SOO, 1997, 1999 NCVS)
- Age 12-34 are the highest risk years. Risk peaks in the late teens: girls 16 to 19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assault. (2000 NCVS.)
It is important to recognize and treat Rape-Related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but it is also necessary to remember that all individuals, and therefore all victims of sexual assault, deal with trauma in unique ways. Some, especially children and young adults, move through an abnormal event in what seems to be a very normal way, but this does not mean they are not internally experiencing some of the effects.
Other negative consequences of experiencing a sexual assault include the following increased tendencies:
Victims of sexual assault are...
- Three times more likely to suffer from depression.
- Six times more likely to suffer from post traumatic stress disorder.
- Thirteen times more likely to abuse alcohol.
- Twenty-six times more likely to abuse drugs.
- Four times more likely to contemplate suicide.
Dealing with such severe struggles on your own can often be too difficult to bear. That is why it is good for victims of sexual assault to receive treatment and counseling.