July 3, 2024

How Common is Sexual Assault – Understanding Rape Statistics

How Common is Sexual Assault - Understanding Rape Statistics

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Table of Contents

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Susana Spiegel

Recovery Writer and Advocate

Last Update on July 3, 2024

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Sexual assault is a harrowing experience that is unfortunately common in today’s society. Sexual assault refers to any sexual behavior or activity without the consent of the recipient. It can range from sexual coercion, unwanted sexual touching, attempted rape, and completed rape.

According to RAINN, every 68 seconds, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted. One in six American women and 3% of men have experienced rape and some form of sexual misconduct in their lifetime. 63,000 children are confirmed as sexual abuse victims, with significant proportions under 18 years of age1. These statistics are eye-opening about how common this traumatic experience can be.

Current Statistics on Sexual Assault

United States Sexual Assault Statistics

  • Inmates: 80,600 were sexually assaulted or raped.
  • Military: 18,900 experienced unwanted sexual contact. 1
  • Age: with 34% of victims of sexual assault and rape being under age 12 and 66% being age 12-17.1
  • LGBTQ: Face heightened risk, such as individuals, particularly those who are incarcerated. In one study of 1,118 incarcerated members of the LGBTQ community, 12% reported experiencing sexual assault or rape from prison staff.

Information about the Prevalence of Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is a global issue, and it can happen to anyone. It’s not just women or girls who experience this traumatic circumstance. Take a look at the worldwide prevalence of sexual assault:

  • Globally, about 1 in 3 women have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime, most often by an intimate partner.5
  • The prevalence of sexual violence varies across regions, with areas like Oceania, Southern Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa having the highest rates of intimate partner violence among women aged 15-49, ranging from 33% – to 51%.7
  • In the United States, an American is sexually assaulted every 68 seconds. As of 1998, an estimated 17.7 million American women had been victims of attempted or completed rape.1
  • Incidents on campus are a significant issue in the U.S., with women ages 18-24 who are college students being 3 times more likely than women in general to experience sexual violence.8
  • The prevalence of sexual abuse appears to have remained relatively stable in recent decades, with some studies suggesting a slight decline in early childhood sexual victimization but an increase in assault rates during adolescence.4

As the rates of sexual abuse and rape rise worldwide, spreading awareness and prevention efforts is really important. If you or a loved one has been sexually assaulted or raped, please reach out to National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

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Trauma Impact

Sexual abuse can be extremely traumatizing and leave a long-lasting impact on your mental health. It can affect you physically, emotionally, and socially. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is extremely common for survivors. Survivors can also experience flashbacks, trust issues, depression, nightmares, hypervigilance, anxiety, and substance abuse are also common who have been the victim of sexual assault.

This trauma can also lead to physical health issues like chronic pain, sexual dysfunction, gastrointestinal problems, social, intimacy, and relationships, and may face stigma or blame from others. These effects can persist long after the assault. Please remember that healing is possible, and you don’t have to face this trauma alone.

Quick Tip

It Is NEVER Your Fault!

There is a significant stigma surrounding sexual assault and rape, but no matter what, if it isn’t consensual, it is not your fault.

Legal Definitions

When it comes to the United States, the legal definitions of sexual assault vary state by state, but it generally includes any sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the consent of the victim. However, states may have different terminology and definitions for sexual assault crimes, sexual misconduct, and sexual battery. Some states have specific laws addressing alcohol and drug-facilitated sexual assault, recognizing that victims may be unable to consent due to intoxication or incapacitation.

The lack of constancy in states can confuse and complicate the process of proving the lack of consent and the perpetrator’s intent, particularly in cases that involve drugs and alcohol. Also, statutes of limitations, which set time laminations for prosecuting crimes, can make victims struggle to pursue legal actions if they don’t report the assault within a certain amount of time. These complexities truly show the importance of clear definitions and the need for trauma-informed approaches in the criminal justice system.

Rape Statistic

Rape is a form of sexual misconduct that involves manipulated, forced, or coerced penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth by a finger, penis, or another object. Rape statistics are tracked separately from sexual assault statistics to help provide more details understanding of this crime. Take a look at the rape statistics:

  • Martial Rape: 10 to 14% of married women are raped by their spouses during their marriage.9
  • Date Rape: The lifetime prevalence of date or acquaintance rape ranges from 13% to 27% among college-age women and from 20% to 68% among adolescents.10
  • Rape: In 2022, there were approximately 133,294 reported rape cases in the United States. This includes both attempted and completed rapes.7

The stats show the prevalence of rape and how the importance of addressing this issue that not only requires legal and policy changes but as well as cultural shifts on the topic of consent, gender roles, and sexual violence. Understanding these rape and sexual assault statistics is truly important. Remember, many support systems can help you if you have experienced sexual assault or rape.

There are many hotlines and online chat rooms where you can get professional help for sexual abuse or rape.

  • National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC): Provides access to local rape crisis centers and maintains a directory of organizations that offer support to survivors 12.
  • National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline: Organized by the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN), this hotline can connect you with local rape crisis centers. You can call the Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or access RAINN’s online chat service 12.
  • National Sexual Assault Online Hotline: A secure and confidential online chat system where you can chat live with a trained RAINN support specialist13.
  • Attorney Referral Line: Refers callers to attorneys in their geographic area who can represent them in their pursuit of civil claims and victim restitution. Phone: 202.467.8716 14.
There are many hotlines and online chat rooms where you can get professional help for sexual abuse or rape.
  • National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC): Provides access to local rape crisis centers and maintains a directory of organizations that offer support to survivors 12.
  • National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline: Organized by the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN), this hotline can connect you with local rape crisis centers. You can call the Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or access RAINN’s online chat service 12.
  • National Sexual Assault Online Hotline: A secure and confidential online chat system where you can chat live with a trained RAINN support specialist13.
  • Attorney Referral Line: Refers callers to attorneys in their geographic area who can represent them in their pursuit of civil claims and victim restitution. Phone: 202.467.8716 14.
From 2009-2013, Child Protective Services (CPS) agencies found that 63,000 children a year were victims of sexual abuse:
  • A majority of child victims are 12-17.
  •  34% of victims of sexual assault and rape are under age 12.
  • 66% of victims of sexual assault and rape are aged 12-17.

Yes! Women can be perpetrators of sexual violence towards males, its more prevalent in society than most people realize13.

Convection Rates

Conviction rates for sexual assault are influenced by a few factors, such as the quality of evidence, especially in cases where the incident wasn’t reported immediately, proving lack of consent, which relies heavily on the victim’s testimony, as well as societal biases and the trial. Only 310 out of every 1,000 sexual assaults are reported to the police, but only 50 lead to arrest and 5 result in felony convictions12.

Though it may seem tricky when it comes to a court case after filing a police report, please remember that you are doing the right thing, and there is hope to keep on with the legal procedures of filing a sexual assault report to the police. Many support groups will be more than willing to help walk you through this process as well as help you mentally through this! Remember, you are never alone in this!

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Support Systems

Having support systems is extremely important and highly recommended after you’ve been asexually assaulted or raped. Going through all this process and healing alone can be extremely difficult, and no one should experience that alone! Check out some of these support groups to walk you through this traumatic experience:
  • National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC): Provides access to local rape crisis centers and maintains a directory of organizations that offer support to survivors 12.
  • National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline: Organized by the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN), this hotline can connect you with local rape crisis centers. You can call the Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or access RAINN’s online chat service 12.
  • National Sexual Assault Online Hotline: A secure and confidential online chat system where you can chat live with a trained RAINN support specialist13.
Having these resources can make going through this process way easier. This is how you can get the help that you need, whether it’s someone to talk to or if it’s help when writing a police report. Please use these hotlines and resources as they can help you. Please know you are not alone in this!

Key Takeaways

How Cornerstone Can Help You Through This

Any kind of sexual abuse and rape are extremely traumatic experiences that no one should have to go through. Its rising statistics and prevalence can be terrifying. If you or a loved one has experienced sexual abuse or rape, please know that we are here to help.

At Cornerstone, we understand the traumatic impact that follows after being sexually assaulted or raped; please, if you’ve experienced something like this, reach out today. We can provide a comprehensive virtual therapy treatment to help you walk through the process with a strong support system.

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Author & Reviewers

susana spiegel recovery writer and SEO expert
RECOVERY WRITER & ADVOCATE

Susana is a recovery writer and advocate with over 8 years in addiction recovery. She is passionate about sharing accurate and helpful information about mental health, addiction, and recovery. She holds a Bachelor’s in Christian Studies from Grand Canyon University and has over 7 years of working in the addiction field. 

lionel estrada lisac clinical director
CLINICAL DIRECTOR & REVIEWER

Lionel is the Clinical Director of Cornerstone’s Scottsdale treatment facilities. He has had over 4 years at Cornerstone. He is personally in recovery and passionate about helping others overcome substance abuse and mental health challenges; he is trained as an EMDR, adopting a trauma-informed approach to treat the underlying issues.

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