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The Victims of Sexual Assault

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Women

  • One out of every six American women have been the victims of an
    attempted or completed rape in their lifetime (14.8% completed rape;
    2.8% attempted rape). This is according to the Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence Against Women Survey (PDF, 305KB), 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 (PDF, 623KB).
  • 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%

Men

  • 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 (PDF, 623KB).

Children

  • 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 (PDF, 216KB), 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% acquaintences. 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 (PDF, 131KB).

Race

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 (PDF, 131KB).


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