Sexual assault continues as an epidemic in our society. In the U.S. an estimated 17.7 million and 2.78 million men have been victims of sexual assault or rape. Every 2 minutes, another American is sexually assaulted.
• There is an average of 237,868 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year (National Institute of Justice & Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 1998).
• 44% of victims are under age 18, 80% are under age 30 (National Institute of Justice & Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 1998).
• 15% of sexual assault and rape victims are under age 12 (U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sex Offenses and Offenders. 1997).
• 1 in 3 females and 1 in 6 males will be sexually abused by the time they are 18. National Crime Victimization Survey).
• More than half of all rapes of women (54%) occur before age 18; 22% of these rapes occur before age 12. For men, 75% of all rapes occur before age 18, and 48% occur before age 12 (Tjaden and Thoennes, 2000).
• 93% of juvenile sexual assault victims know their attacker (U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. 2000 Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law Enforcement. 2000).
• Victims of sexual assault are 3 times more likely to suffer from depression, 6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol, 26 times more likely to abuse drugs, and 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide (World Health Organization. 2002).
• Following a two-year investigation, the Grand Jury of San Mateo County discovered “everyday, a child in San Mateo County is sexually abused, and nearly half of the time the sexual abuse was inflicted by the child’s parent or close relative.” According to the report, “over half of the reported sexually abused children are under 12 years old.”
• Men who experienced childhood sexual abuse are at much greater risk than those who haven’t for serious mental health problems, including: symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, alcoholism and drug abuse, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts, problems in intimate relationships, and underachievement at school and at work (Dube, S.R., Anda, R.F., Whitfield, C.L., et al. 2005).
Facts about Rape and Sexual Abuse
There are a lot of myths about rape and sexual assault and media reporting is often very distorted. You should remember:
• When a person is raped or sexually abused it was not her or his fault.
• Research shows, the common tendency to blame victims comes from the fear that any one of us can be hurt.
• Rape is an act of violence and cruelty, which knows no cultural, ethnic, racial, age, or gender boundaries.
• Most people know their offender. He or she may be a partner, relative, friend, or work colleague.
• Most rapes are planned.
• “Sexy” clothing does not provoke rape. Neither does age nor attractiveness.