Victims of Sexual Violence: Statistics

Sexual Violence Affects Millions of Americans

Infographic reading "Every 2 minutes an American is sexually assaulted."

  • On average, there are 288,820 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year in the United States.1

Younger People Are at the Highest Risk of Sexual Violence

Infographic reads "The majority of sexual assault victims are under 30." Statistic is broken down into five age groups. 15% of sexual violence victims are 12-17, 54% of victims are 18-34, 28% of victims are 35-64, and 3% are 65+.

  • Ages 12-34 are the highest risk years for rape and sexual assault.3
  • Those age 65 and older are 92% less likely than 12-24 year olds to be a victim of rape or sexual assault, and 83% less likely than 25-49 year olds.4

           Read more statistics about about child sexual abuse.


Women and Girls Experience Sexual Violence at High Rates

Graphic illustrating the statistic that 1 in every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8% completed, 2.8% attempted).

Millions of women in the United States have experienced rape.

  • As of 1998, an estimated 17.7 million American women had been victims of attempted or completed rape.5 

Young women are especially at risk.

  • 82% of all juvenile victims are female. 90% of adult rape victims are female.6
  • Females ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.3
  • Women ages 18-24 who are college students are 3 times more likely than women in general to experience sexual violence. Females of the same age who are not enrolled in college are 4 times more likely.7

      Read more statistics about campus sexual violence.


Men and Boys Are Also Affected by Sexual Violence

Infographic depicts that male college students are at a higher risk than non-students of the same age to experience sexual assault or rape. Male students ages 18-24 are five times more likely than non-students of the same age to experience sexual violence.

Millions of men in the United States have been victims of rape.

  • As of 1998, 2.78 million men in the U.S. had been victims of attempted or completed rape.5
  • About 3% of American men—or 1 in 33—have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.5
  • 1 out of every 10 rape victims are male.8

Transgender Students Are at Higher Risk for Sexual Violence

21% of TGQN (transgender, genderqueer, nonconforming) college students have been sexually assaulted, compared to 18% of non-TGQN females, and 4% of non-TGQN males.17


Sexual Violence Can Have Long-Term Effects on Victims

The likelihood that a person suffers suicidal or depressive thoughts increases after sexual violence.

  • 94% of women who are raped experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms during the two weeks following the rape.9
  • 30% of women report PTSD symptoms 9 months after the rape.10
  • 33% of women who are raped contemplate suicide.11
  • 13% of women who are raped attempt suicide.11
  • Approximately 70% of rape or sexual assault victims experience moderate to severe distress, a larger percentage than for any other violent crime.12

People who have been sexually assaulted are more likely to use drugs than the general public.11

  • 3.4 times more likely to use marijuana
  • 6 times more likely to use cocaine
  • 10 times more likely to use other major drugs

Sexual violence also affects victims’ relationships with their family, friends, and co-workers.12

  • 38% of victims of sexual violence experience work or school problems, which can include significant problems with a boss, coworker, or peer.
  • 37% experience family/friend problems, including getting into arguments more frequently than before, not feeling able to trust their family/friends, or not feeling as close to them as before the crime.
  • 84% of survivors who were victimized by an intimate partner experience professional or emotional issues, including moderate to severe distress, or increased problems at work or school.
  • 79% of survivors who were victimized by a family member, close friend or acquaintance experience professional or emotional issues, including moderate to severe distress, or increased problems at work or school.
  • 67% of survivors who were victimized by a stranger experience professional or emotional issues, including moderate to severe distress, or increased problems at work or school.

Victims are at risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

  • Studies suggest that the chance of getting pregnant from one-time, unprotected intercourse is between 3.1-5%13, depending on a multitude of factors, including the time of month intercourse occurs, whether contraceptives are used, and the age of the female. The average number of rapes and sexual assaults against females of childbearing age is approximately 250,000.1 Thus, the number of children conceived from rape each year in the United States might range from 7,750—12,500.12 This is a very general estimate, and the actual number may differ. This statistic presents information from a number of different studies. Further, this information may not take into account factors which increase or decrease the likelihood of pregnancy, including, but not limited to: impact of birth control or condom use at the time of attack or infertility. RAINN presents this data for educational purposes only, and strongly recommends using the citations to review sources for more information and detail.

Native Americans Are at the Greatest Risk of Sexual Violence

  • On average, American Indians ages 12 and older experience 5,900 sexual assaults per year.14
    • American Indians are twice as likely to experience a rape/sexual assault compared to all races.
    • 41% of sexual assaults against American Indians are committed by a stranger; 34% by an acquaintance; and 25% by an intimate or family member.

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Bar graph depicts the average number of sexual assaults by race, per year. Races include white (180,000), black (25,000), hispanic (40,000), and other (20,000). Total is approximately 290,000.


Sexual Violence Affects Thousands of Prisoners Across the Country

An estimated 80,600 inmates each year experience sexual violence while in prison or jail.15

  • 60% of all sexual violence against inmates is perpetrated by jail or prison staff.15
  • More than 50% of the sexual contact between inmate and staff member—all of which is illegal—is nonconsensual.15

Sexual Violence in the Military Often Goes Unreported

18,900 military members experienced unwanted sexual contact in the fiscal year ending September, 2014.16

  • 4.3% of active duty women and 0.9% of active duty men experienced unwanted sexual contact in FY14.
  • Of the 18,900 survivors, 43% of females and 10% of males reported.

View statistics on additional topics

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Understanding RAINN’s statistics

Sexual violence is notoriously difficult to measure, and there is no single source of data that provides a complete picture of the crime. On RAINN’s website, we have tried to select the most reliable source of statistics for each topic. The primary data source we use is the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), which is an annual study conducted by the Justice Department. To conduct NCVS, researchers interview tens of thousands of Americans each year to learn about crimes that they’ve experienced. Based on those interviews, the study provides estimates of the total number of crimes, including those that were not reported to police. While NCVS has a number of limitations (most importantly, children under age 12 are not included), overall, it is the most reliable source of crime statistics in the U.S.

We have also relied on other Justice Department studies, as well as data from the Department of Health and Human Services and other government and academic sources. When assembling these statistics, we have generally retained the wording used by the authors. Statistics are presented for educational purposes only. Each statistic includes a footnote citation for the original source, where you can find information about the methodology and a definition of terms.

Learn more about RAINN's statistics.

Sources:

  1. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Crime Victimization Survey, 2010-2014 (2015).
  2. i. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sex Offenses and Offenders (1997); ii. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Crimes Against the Elderly, 2003-2013 (2014).
  3. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sex Offenses and Offenders (1997).
  4. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Crimes Against the Elderly, 2003-2013 (2014).
  5. 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.) 
  6. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law Enforcement (2000).
  7. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Rape and Sexual Victimization Among College-Aged Females, 1995-2013 (2014). 
  8. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Female Victims of Sexual Violence, 1994-2010  (2013).
  9. D.S. Riggs, T. Murdock, W. Walsh, A prospective examination of post-traumatic stress disorder in rape victims. Journal of Traumatic Stress 455-475 (1992).
  10. J. R. T. Davidson & E. B. Foa (Eds.) Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: DSM-IV and Beyond. American Psychiatric Press: Washington, DC. (pp. 23-36).
  11. DG Kilpatrick, CN Edumuds, AK Seymour. Rape in America: A Report to the Nation. Arlington, VA: National Victim Center and Medical University of South Carolina (1992).
  12. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Socio-emotional Impact of Violent Crime (2014).
  13. Allen J. Wilcox, David B. Dunson, Clarice R. Weinberg, James Trussell, and Donna Day Baird, Likelihood of Contraception with a Single Act of Intercourse: Providing Benchmark Rates for Assessment of Post-Coital Contraceptives, Contraception Journal, (2001).  
  14. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, American Indians and Crime, 1992-2002 (2004).
  15. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails Reported by Inmates, 2011-2012 (2013).
  16. Department of Defense, Fiscal Year 2014 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military, (2015).
  17. David Cantor, Bonnie Fisher, Susan Chibnall, Reanna Townsend, et. al. Association of American Universities (AAU), Report on the AAU Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct (September 21, 2015). ("Victim services agency” is defined in this study as a “public or privately funded organization that provides victims with support and services to aid their recovery, offer protection, guide them through the criminal justice process, and assist with obtaining restitution.” 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.)

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