Facts and Statistics

Rape/Sexual Assault General Characteristics:

  • According to the U.S. Department of Justice, victims of rape and sexual assault report that in nearly 3 out of 4 incidents, the offender was not a stranger.  Based on police-recorded incident data, in 90% of the rapes of children younger than 12, the child knew the offender. Two-thirds of the victims 18 to 29 years old had a prior relationship with the rapist.  (Greenfield, et al, 1997.  Sex Offences and Offenders:  An Analysis of Data on Rape and Sexual Assault.  Department of Justice.)
  • 91% of the victims of rape and sexual assault are female and 9% are male.  Nearly 99% of the offenders they described in single-victim incidents are male.  (Violence Against Women,Bureau of Justice Statistics, USDOJ, 1997.)
  • In 29% of rapes, the offender used a weapon. (lbid.)
  • Around the world at least 1 woman in every 3 has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime.  Most often the abuser is a member of her own family.  (Population Reports:  Ending Violence Against Women, 2000.  Population Information Program,Center for Communications Programs.  Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and Center for Healthcare Gender Equity.)
  • Only 16% of rapes are ever reported to the police. (Kilpatrick et al., 1992.  Rape in America:  A report to the nation.  National Victim Center.)

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  • At least 45% of rapists were under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  (U.S. Department of Justice, 1994.  Violence Against Women, Bureau of Justice Statistics.)
  • Only 2% of rapists are convicted and imprisoned.  (U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee: Conviction and Imprisonment Statistics, 1993.)
  • In the 1994 Ms. Report on Recognizing, Fighting, and Surviving Date and Acquaintance Rape, college aged men were asked about their sexual behavior.  Without using the word "rape", men were asked if they had participated in specific acts that met the definition of rape, attempted rape, sexual coercion, and unwanted sexual contact, for example, "Have you ever engaged in sexual intercourse with a woman when she didn't want to by threatening or using some degree of physical force?"  The results showed that 2,971 college men reported committing: 187 rapes, 157 attempted rapes, 327 episodes of sexual coercion, 854 incidents of unwanted sexual contact.  (Warshaw, 1994.)
  • In the same report, 84% of the men who committed rape said what they did was definitely not rape and 1 in 12 of  the male students surveyed had committed acts that met the legal definitions of rape or attempted rape.  (lbid.)

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Acquaintance Rape:

  • 77% of completed rapes are committed by someone who is known to the victim.  (Bureau of Justice Statistics.  Sex Offenses and Offenders, 1997. U.S. Department of Justice.)
  • In a study surveying more than 6,000 students at 32 colleges and universities in the U.S., 84%knew their attacker, and 57% of the rapes happened on dates.  (Warshaw, 1994.)
  • In 29% of rapes, the offender used a weapon. (lbid.)
  • 13.3% of college women indicated that they had been forced to have sex in a dating situation.  (Johnson, et al, 2000.  "Forced Sexual Intercourse Among Intimates, " Journal of Interpersonal Violence.)

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Sexual Violence Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Individuals (LGBT):

  • In a sample of 412 university students, 16.9% of the subjects that reported that they were lesbian, gay, or bisexual; the remainder identified themselves as heterosexual.  Of the lesbian, gay, bisexual subjects 42.4% (30.6% female and 11.8% male) and 21.4% of the heterosexuals (17.8% female and 3.6% male) indicated that they had been forced to have sex against their will.  (Duncan et al., 100. "Prevalence of Sexual Assault Victimization Among Heterosexual and Gay/Lesbian University Students." Psychological Reports, 66.)
  • In a study of 162 gay men and 111 lesbians, 52% reported at least one incident of sexual coercion b same-sex partners.  Gay men experienced 1.6 incidents per person, while lesbians experienced 1.2 incidents per person.  (Waldner-Haugrud, et al., 1997.  "Sexual Coercion in Gay/Lesbian Reationships: Descriptives and Gender Differences." Violence and Victims, 12 (1))
  • 15% of men who lived with a man as a couple reported being raped/assaulted or stalked by a male cohabitant.  (Saltzman, et al., 1999.  National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Intimate Partner Violence Surveillance:  Uniform definitions and recommended data elements.)

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Male Victims of Sexual Assault:

  • An estimated 92,700 men are forcibly raped each year in the United States.  (Tjaden and Thoemmes, 1998.)
  • Male rape accounted for about 8% of all rapes.  Crimes including rapes that occurred in an institutionalized setting (such as prison, hospital or the military) were not measured in the survey.  (National Crime Victimization Survey, Bureau of Justice, 1992).
  • Estimates suggest that males account for 25% to 35% of child sexual abuse victims.  (Finkelhor, "Current Information to the Scope and Nature of Child Sexual Abuse", 1994.)

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Sexual Violence Against Women of Color:

  • 1 in 4 women residents of Los Angeles County reported at least one incident of an attempted or completed rape since the age of 18.  (Koss and Harvey, 1991. The Rape Victim: Clinical and Community Interventions.)
  • 44.8% of African-American women, 38% of white women, 25.6% of Latinas, and 21.1% of Asian-American women had a history of child sexual abuse.  The rates for adult rape show African-American women disclosing the highest rate of 37.9%, followed by white women (25.5%), Latinas, (17.9%), and Asian-Americans  at 10.5%.  More than half (61.5%) of the African-American women who were sexually abused in childhood reported rape as an adult, white women (44.2%), Latinas (40%), and Asian-Americans (25%).  (Urguiza and Goodin-Jones, 1994.)

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Partner Rape:

  • Nearly 25 million women and 7 million men are raped and/or physically assaulted by an intimate partner in their lifetime.  (Tjaden and Thoennes, 1998.)
  • Sexual assault is reported by 33% to 46% of women who are being physically assaulted by their husbands.  (American Medical Association, 1995.)
  • A study of a random sample of 930 women age 18 or older indicated that nearly 14% of the women who had ever been married were the victims of at least one completed or attempted rape by their husbands or ex-husbands. (Russell, 1990.  Rape in Marriage.)

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Campus Sexual Violence:

  • 22% of all rape victims are between the usual college ages of 18 - 24. (Kilpatrick, et al., 1992.)
  • 75% of male students and 55% of female students involved in date rape had been drinking or using drugs.  (Koss, 1998. "Hidden rape: Incident, Prevalence and descriptive characteristics of sexual aggression and victimization in a national sample of college students."  Rape and Sexual Assault, Vol. 2.)
  • In a study surveying more than 6,000 students at 32 colleges and universities in the U.S.:
    • 1 in 4 women had been victims of rape or attempted rape
    • 84% of those raped knew their attacker, and 57% of the rapes happened on dates
    • Only 27% of the women whose sexual assault met the legal definition of rape thought of themselves as rape victims
    • 42% of the rape victims told no one about the assault, and only 5% reported it to the police (Warshaw, 1994.)

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Physical Violence:

  • About 85% of victimizations by intimate partners in 1998 were against women.  Women were victims of intimate partner violence at a rate about 5 times that of males.  (Rennison and Welchans, 2000.  Intimate Partner Violence, Bureau of Justice Statistics.)
  • In 1998, there were 1,932 females murdered by males in single victim/single offender incidents.  More than 12 times as many females were murdered by a male they knew than were killed by male strangers.
  • 60% of female homicide victims were wives or intimate acquaintances of their killers.  (FBI Supplemental Homicide Report, 1998.)

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Source:  Adapted from Crime and Sexual Assault Services (CASAS) website, Student Affairs, WWU

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Page Updated 06.03.2013