FACT ONE: One in three women have been sexually assaulted in their lifetime.
Sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence continue to be public health problems affecting millions of Americans each year. Survey findings underscore the heavy toll of this violence, the young age at which people often experience violence, and the negative health conditions associated with these forms of violence. 1 in 6 women experienced stalking at some point during their lifetime. Of all female victims of completed rape, 41% reported that it first occurred prior to age 18.
FACT TWO: Less than one percent of attackers will be locked up.
One study pinpointed common reasons victims fail to report the crime and how perpetrators walk free. Reasons for failure to report ranged from a sense of shame felt by many, a desire to forget the experience, a fear of retaliation and deep concern that the victim’s family would learn of it. The sense of shame can be explained in part by our common language, which can brand a women known to have had a sexual encounter as a “slut” – a term which has no male equivalent. Other studies show at least 15 percent of victims feel police cannot or will not help them. Indeed, twice as many robberies are reported and three times as many convicted thieves are locked up.
FACT THREE: The impact of sexual assault lingers.
Victims have reported asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, frequent headaches, chronic pain, difficulty sleeping, and limitations in their activities compared to those who have not experienced this violence. In addition:
- 94% of women who are raped experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during the two weeks following the rapea
- 30% of women report symptoms of PTSD 9 months after the rape.b
- 33% of women who are raped contemplate suicide.c
- 13% of women who are raped attempt suicide.
WHERE WE GOT THESE FACTS
- The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/NISVS-StateReportFactsheet.pdf
a Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Crimes Against the Elderly, 2003-2013 (2014).b National Institute of Justice & Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence Against Women Survey (1998). (Statistic presents information on the total number of male and female victims in the United States, using a study from 1998. Because the U.S. population has increased substantially since then, it is probable that the number of victims has, as well. RAINN presents this data for educational purposes only, and strongly recommends using the citations to review any and all sources for more information and detail.)c Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law Enforcement (2000).