Statistics - Sexual Assault*
  • In 2000, an estimated 62.7 of every 100,000 females in the country were victims of forcible rape. (Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). 22 October 2001. Crime in the United States, 2000.)
  • Forcible rape was the only violent crime that had an increase in volume over the last two year period, showing a 0.9 percent rise. (Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). 22 October 2001. Crime in the United States, 2000.)
  • By community type, in 2000, the forcible rape rate in metropolitan areas was 65 per 100,000 females; outside metropolitan areas, 69 per 100,000 females; and in rural countries, 43.4 for every 100,000 females. (Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). 22 October 2001. Crime in the United States, 2000.)
  • Law enforcement agencies made an estimated 27,469 arrests for forcible rape in 2000. (Rennison, C. June 2001, Criminal Victimization 2000: Changes 1999-2000 with Trends 1993-2000. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics.)
  • 6% of sexual assault victims faced an armed offender. (Rennison, C. June 2001. Criminal Victimization 2000: Changes 1999-2000 with Trends 1993-2000. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics.)
  • 90, 186 forcible rapes were reported the police in 2000. (Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). 22 October 2001. Crime in the United States, 2000.)
  • About 234,000 convicted sex offenders are under the care, custody or control of corrections agencies on an average day. Nearly, 60% are under conditional supervision in the community. (Greenfield, L. February 1997. Sex Offenses and Offenders. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics.)

Women are victims...

  • 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). A total of 17.7 million women have been victims of these crimes.[Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence Against Women Survey, National Institute of Justice and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1998.]
  • In 1999, nine out of every ten rape victims were female. [1999 NCVS]
  • While about 80% of all victims are white, minorities are somewhat more likely to be attacked:

Men, too…

  • About three percent of American men —- a total of 2.78 million men—have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. [Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence Against Women 1998.]
  • In 1999, one in every ten rape victims were male.[1999 NCVS]

And, of course, kids…

  • Seven percent of girls in grades five to eight and twelve percent of girls in grades nine through twelve and said they had been sexually abused. [Commonwealth Fund Survey of the Health of Adolescent Girls, 1998.]
  • 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. [Commonwealth Fund Survey of the Health of Adolescent Boys, 1998.]

The Color of Rape

  •  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. [2000 NCVS.]
  • Blacks are about 10% more likely to be attacked than whites. In 2000, there were 1.1 victimizations per 1,000 white people, and 1.2 victimizations per 1,000 black people. [2000 NCVS.]

Silent Victims…

One of the most startling aspects of sex crimes is how many go unreported. The most common reasons given by victims for not reporting these crimes are the belief that it is a private or personal matter and that they fear reprisal from the assailant.

  • In 1999, only 28% of rapes and sexual assaults were reported to law enforcement officials — fewer than one in every three. [1999 NCVS]
  • Of sexually abused children in grades five through twelve, 48% of the boys and 29% of the girls had told no one about the abuse—not even a friend or sibling. [Commonwealth Fund Survey of the Health of Adolescent Girls, 1998.]

The rapist isn’t a masked man…

  • Approximately 62% of female rape victims knew their assailant. [2000 NCVS.]
  • Approximately 43% of victims are raped by a friend or acquaintance; 34% by a stranger; 17% by an intimate; and 2% by another relative. [2000 NCVS.]

And he’s not hiding in the bushes…

Statistics in this section are from: Sex Offenses and Offenders. Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, February 1997:

  • About four out of ten sexual assaults take place at the victim’s own home. Two in ten take place in the home of a friend, neighbor or relative. One in ten take place outside, away from home. And about one in 12 take place in a parking garage.
  • More than half of all rape/sexual assault incidents were reported by victims to have occurred within one mile of their home or at their home.
  • 43% of rapes occur between 6 pm and midnight. 24% occur between midnight and 6am. The other 33% take place between 6am and 6pm.
  • Current or former spouses, boyfriends or girlfriends committed 17% of sexual assault in 2000. 42% of sexual assaults were committed by someone the victim identified as a friend or acquaintance. Only a third of victims did not know their attacker. (Rennison, C. June 2001. Criminal Victimization 2000: Changes 1999-2000 with Trends 1993-2000. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics.)

The Dangers of Youth

15% of victims are under age 12
29% are age 12-17
44% are under age 18
80% are under age 30

[SOO, 1997, 1999 NCVS]

  • Age 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. [2000 NCVS.]
  • Adolescents ages 12 to 17 are more likely to be sexually assaulted by young adults ages 18 to 24. Children under 12 are more likely to be sexually assaulted by persons under the age 18. (Bureau of Justice Statistics. 1999. National Crime Victimization Survey. Washing, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.)

  • Convicted rape and sexual assault offenders serving time in State prisons report that two-thirds of their victims were under the age of 18. Nearly 4 in 10 imprisoned violent sexual offenders said their victims were aged 12 or younger. (Bureau of Justice Statistics. August 1998. Sex Offenses and Offenders. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.)
  • In 90% of the rapes of children less than 12 years old, the child knew the rapist. Among rape victims 18 to 29 years old, two-thirds had a prior relationship with the rapist. (Bureau of Justice Statistics August. 1998. Sex Offenses and Offenders. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.)
  • Teens 16 to 19 were three and one half times more likely than the general population be victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assault. (Bureau of Justice Statistics. 1999. National Crime Victimization Survey. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.)
  • In 2000, for every 1,000 persons age 12 or older, there occurred 1 rape or sexual assault. (Rennison, C. June 2001. Criminal Victimization 2000: Changes 1999-2000 with Trends 1993-2000. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics.)

The Criminal

  • The average age of rapists at arrest is 31. Fifty-two percent are white; twenty-two percent of imprisoned rapists report that they are married. [SOO, 1997]
  • Juveniles accounted for about 16% of forcible rape arrestees in 1995 and 17% of those arrested for other sex offenses [SOO, 1997]
  • In about one out of three sexual assaults, the perpetrator was intoxicated—30% with alcohol, 4% with drugs. [Alcohol and Crime. Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1998]
  • In one study, 98% of males who raped boys reported that they were heterosexual. [Sexual Abuse of Boys, Journal of the American Medical Association, December 2, 1998]
  • About 6% of rapes involved the use of a weapon—three percent used a gun, and three percent used a knife. 80% of victims reported the use of physical force only, and 10% were unsure. [2000 NCVS.]

The Punishment

  •  72% of rapes/sexual assaults are not reported to the police. Those rapists, of course, never serve a day in prison. [1999 NCVS]

If the rape is reported to police, there is a 50.8% chance that an arrest will be made.

If an arrest is made, there is an 80% chance of prosecution.

If there is a prosecution, there is a 58% chance of a felony conviction.

If there is a felony conviction, there is a 69% chance the convict will spend time in jail.

So, even in those 28% of rapes that are reported to police, there is only a 16.3% chance the rapist will end up in prison.

Factoring in unreported rapes, about 5%—one out of twenty— of rapists will ever spend a day in jail. 19 out of 20 will walk free.

Probability statistics compiled by NCPA from US Department of Justice statistics. See www.ncpa.org/studies/s229/s229.html

 *Data obtained from Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN).


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