How often does sexual assault occur?

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There is an average of 293,066 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year.—-1

Every 107 seconds, another American is sexually assaulted.

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Here’s the math. According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)–there is an average of 293,066 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year.

There are 525,600 minutes in a non-leap year. That makes 31,536,000 seconds/year. So, 31,536,000 divided by 293,066 comes out to 1 sexual assault every 107 seconds.

When do sexual assaults occur?

According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s NCVS study, rates of sexual assault (meaning, the number of victims per 1,000 people age 12 or older) fluctuate depending, in part, on the time of year. Summer has the highest rates of rape and sexual assault, while winter and fall the lowest. From 1993-2010, rape and sexual assault rates were on average 10% lower in the fall than the summer, 9% lower on average in the winter, and 6% lower on average in the spring.—2

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The Unvictims

Sexual assault has fallen by 49% in recent years.—-3

Had the 1993 rate held steady, about 9.7 million Americans would have been assaulted in the last 20 years.

Thanks to the decline, the actual number of victims was about 4.2 million. In other words, if not for the progress we’ve made in the last 20 years, an additional 5.5 million Americans would have become victims of sexual violence.

While we should be happy that we’re making progress, we are still a very long way from solving this problem. Every two minutes, another American is sexually assaulted.

Sign up to help RAINN fight sexual violence.

References
  1. U.S. Department of Justice. National Crime Victimization Survey. 2009-2013.
  2. U.S. Department of Justice. Seasonal Patterns in Criminal Victimization Trends. 2014.
  3. U.S. Department of Justice. National Crime Victimization Survey. 1993-2013.
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Who are the Victims of Sexual Assault?

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Breakdown by Gender and Age

Women

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1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8% completed rape; 2.8% attempted rape). 1

17.7 million American women have been victims of attempted or completed rape.1

9 of every 10 rape victims were female in 2003. 2

Lifetime rate of rape /attempted rape for women by race: 1
  • All women: 17.6%
  • White women: 17.7%
  • Black women: 18.8%
  • Asian Pacific Islander women: 6.8%
  • American Indian/Alaskan women: 34.1%
  • Mixed race women: 24.4%

Men

About 3% of American men — or 1 in 33 — have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. 1

  • In 2003, 1 in every ten rape victims were male. 2
  • 2.78 million men in the U.S. have been victims of sexual assault or rape. 1

Children

15% of sexual assault and rape victims are under age 12. 3

  • 29% are age 12-17.
  • 44% are under age 18. 3
  • 80% are under age 30. 3
  • 12-34 are the highest risk years.
  • Girls ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.

7% of girls in grades 5-8 and 12% of girls in grades 9-12 said they had been sexually abused. 4

  • 3% of boys grades 5-8 and 5% of boys in grades 9-12 said they had been sexually abused.

In 1995, local child protection service agencies identified 126,000 children who were victims of either substantiated or indicated sexual abuse. 5

  • Of these, 75% were girls.
  • Nearly 30% of child victims were between the age of 4 and 7.

93% of juvenile sexual assault victims know their attacker. 6

  • 34.2% of attackers were family members.
  • 58.7% were acquaintances.
  • Only 7% of the perpetrators were strangers to the victim.

On average during 1992-2001, American Indians age 12 or older experienced annually an estimated 5,900 rapes or sexual assaults. 7

  • American Indians were twice as likely to experience a rape/sexual assault compared to all races.
  • Sexual violence makes up 5% of all violent crime committed against Indians (about the same as for other races).
  • Offender/victim relationship: 41% stranger; 34% acquaintance; 25% intimate or family member.

Effects of Rape

Victims of sexual assault are: 8

3 times more likely to suffer from depression.

6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

13 times more likely to abuse alcohol.

26 times more likely to abuse drugs.

4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.

Pregnancies Resulting from Rape

In 2012, 346,830 women were raped. 9 According to medical reports, the incidence of pregnancy for one-time unprotected sexual intercourse is 5%. By applying the pregnancy rate to 346,830 female survivors, RAINN estimates that there were17,342 pregnancies as a result of rape in 2012.

This calculation does not account for the following factors which could lower the actual number of pregnancies:
  • Rape, as defined by the NCVS, is forced sexual intercourse. Forced sexual intercourse means vaginal, oral, or anal penetration by offender(s). This category includes incidents where the penetration is from a foreign object such as a bottle. Certain types of rape under this definition cannot cause pregnancy.
  • Some victims of rape may be utilizing birth control methods, such as the pill, which will prevent pregnancy.
  • Some rapists may wear condoms in an effort to avoid DNA detection.
  • Vicims of rape may not be able to become pregnant for medical or age-related reasons.
This calculation does not account for the following factors which could raise the actual number of pregnancies:
  • Medical estimates of a 5% pregnancy rate are for one-time, unprotected sexual intercourse. Some victimizations may include multiple incidents of intercourse.
  • Because of methodology, NCVS does not measure the victimization of Americans age 12 or younger. Rapes of these young people could results in pregnancies not accounted for in RAINN’s estimates.
References
  1. National Institute of Justice & Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence Against Women Survey. 1998.
  2. U.S. Department of Justice. 2003 National Crime Victimization Survey. 2003.
  3. U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sex Offenses and Offenders. 1997.
  4. 1998 Commonwealth Fund Survey of the Health of Adolescent Girls. 1998.
  5. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. 1995 Child Maltreatment Survey. 1995.
  6. U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. 2000 Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law Enforcement. 2000.
  7. U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. American Indians and Crime. 1992-2002.
  8. World Health Organization. 2002.
  9. U.S. Department of Justice. 2012 National Crime Victimization Survey. 2012.