Sexual Assault: Statistics and Protection

Sexual AssaultSexual assault is something that one in six women have experienced.  The statistics for sexual assault prove that one needs to be prepared and know how to protect against it.  While significantly more women are assaulted than men, men need to be prepared as well.

Sexual assault, which can include rape or any unwanted sexual activity, occurs every two minutes in America.  The majority of the attackers, two-thirds, are someone the victim knows, and can include an intimate partner, such as a husband.  There are roughly 237,868 victims of sexual assault every year in the United States. 80 percent of assault victims are under the age of 30. The majority of victims are female; one in every six American women have been a victim of a sexual attack.   Males can be victims too; one in every 33 American men have been a victim of sexual assault.

Who are the offenders?  Aside from often being someone who the victim knows, the attackers are mostly white, heterosexual men. Even in attacks against men, the majority of the attackers are male. 97 percent of rapists will not spend any time in jail, not even one day.  Part of this problem is that 60 percent of sexual assaults go unreported to law enforcement.

Four out of ten assaults occur at the victim’s home.  43 percent of assaults occur between the hours of 6:00pm and midnight; more than at any other time of day. Out of the rapists that did actually spend time in jail for rape, 46 percent will be re-arrested for another crime within three years of release. In every one out of three sexual assaults the attacker was intoxicated with either alcohol or drugs.

After one has seen the statistics regarding sexual abuse, one may be left wondering if there is anything he or she can do to protect against it?  The answer is yes.  Try to avoid dangerous situations, which include isolated areas. Being aware of one’s surrounding is important.  Many women enjoy listening to music if they are walking or running, but one important piece of advice is to only put one headphone in the ears.  This will help the individual to still be able to hear what is going on around him or her.

Another important tip is to never leave your drink alone.  Leaving one’s drink alone allows for the possibility of an attacker putting drugs into the drink. Remember in social settings that friends need to look out for friends. If something seems wrong with a friend, check on them and see if everything is okay. Do not consume too much alcohol, one needs to remain alert and aware.

If an attack occurs, it is not the victim’s fault.  Even following the above tips does not mean that a sexual assault will not happen.  If it does occur report it to the authorities. The victim should go to the hospital immediately where he or she can be treated for injuries, tested for sexually transmitted diseases, and where the hospital staff can gather evidence from the victim’s body.

Counseling for female victims of sexual assault is important.  Counseling for male victims is equally important.  Males especially might not want to report sexual assault crimes. Male and female victims can both experience shame, anger, and fear. By knowing the statistics about sexual assault, one may be able to increase his or her protection against an attack.

By Ashley Campbell



Office on Women’s Health
End Sexual Violence