The statistics are astonishing and paints a frightening picture of society. Rape will affect and happen to one in five women in the U.S. (23 million) during their lifetime, according to data published Friday by the federal government. Sexual violence of some form is experienced by more than 40 percent of American women, including stalking, flashing, unwanted touching and other unwanted sexual experiences.
Most sexual violence occurs before the age of 25. The findings are consistent with reports that one in five women is sexually assaulted during their college years. It also jives with a UNICEF report released this week that states that one in 10 girls in the world are raped by age 20.
The report released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC) is based on data collected in 2011 during interviews with more than 12,000 women and men. The CDC study says that progress has been made in endeavors to prevent sexual violence and stalking, “these forms of violence continue to exact a substantial toll,” the CDC study said. In fact, however, the numbers increased slightly from a similar study the previous year.
Multiracial women have the greatest risk, with 32 percent having been raped during their lifetime. Other rates of rape include 28 percent of American Indian or Alaskan native, 21 percent of blacks, 21 percent of Caucasians (non-Hispanic) and 14 percent of Hispanic women.
While rape affects one in five U.S. women, men experience it too. Approximately 2 percent of American men (2 million) have been raped at some point. In addition, more than 23 percent of men report having experience some form of sexual violence in their lives, such as sexual contact or intimidation. For males, 71 percent report that they were sexually assaulted before age 25.
Sexual Assaults on College Campuses
The CDC report comes at a time when increased attention is being paid to rape and sexual misconduct on college campuses. Reports show that universities are not addressing cases. In fact, a July report by U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, Missouri, says that 40 percent of the 440 colleges surveyed have not investigated an assault in the last five years. This supports statistics that more than 80 percent of sexual assaults on college campuses go unreported, not that these schools do not have an issue.
The White House and federal government have strived to make people aware of the college sexual violence issue. They are reportedly working with schools on development of prevention and response measures.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Education is investigating more than 70 colleges nationwide on their handling of sexual assault issues. Some colleges involved, such as Emerson College in Boston, are taking a proactive, detailed look at the sexual assault prevalence on their campus, while others resist conducting research that might expose how big the issue in within their college community.
Sexual violence is an ongoing issue that needs addressing throughout society, not just on college campuses. Making people aware of the alarming U.S. statistics, such as one in five women suffering from rape, is a good starting point, more clearly needs to be done to education and prevent against sexual violence, which ultimately affects everyone.
By Dyanne Weiss