Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month: The Statistics


Every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. On average, there are 321,500 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year in the United States. Sexual violence is a major public health, human rights and social justice issue. On April 1, 2001 the U.S. first observed Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) nationally. The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities on how to prevent it.

Victim/Survivors of Sexual Assault: What are the Statistics?


Source: Rainn

Children, Teens, & Young Adults
  • Every 8 minutes, Child Protective Services finds evidence for child sexual abuse
  • From 2009-2013, CPS agencies substantiated, or found strong evidence to indicate that, 63,000 children a year were victims of sexual abuse.
  • A majority of child victims are 12-17.
    • Of victims under the age of 18: 34% of victims of sexual assault and rape are under age 12, and 66% of victims of sexual assault and rape are age 12-17.
  • 1 in 9 girls and 1 in 53 boys under the age of 18 experience sexual abuse or assault at the hands of an adult.
  • 82% of all victims under 18 are female.
  • Females ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.
  • Ages 12-34 are the highest risk years for rape and sexual assault.
  • Those age 65 and older are 92% less likely than 12-24 year olds to be a victim of rape or sexual assault, and 83% less likely than 25-49 year olds.
LGBTQIA+ Community
  • 21% of TGQN (transgender, genderqueer, nonconforming) college students have been sexually assaulted, compared to 18% of non-TGQN females, and 4% of non-TGQN males.

The CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey for LGB people:

  • About 3% of American men—or 1 in 33—have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.
  • As of 1998, 2.78 million men in the U.S. had been victims of attempted or completed rape.
  • 1 out of every 10 rape victims are male.
  • 5-6% of men will experience sexual assault during college. (2014 and 2007)
Racial and Ethnic Minorities
  • Native Americans are at the greatest risk of sexual violence
  • On average, American Indians ages 12 and older experience 5,900 sexual assaults per year.
    • American Indians are twice as likely to experience a rape/sexual assault compared to all races.
    • 41% of sexual assaults against American Indians are committed by a stranger; 34% by an acquaintance; and 25% by an intimate or family member.
  • the Bureau of Justice Statistics (2014) recently reported that, while rates of violent crimes against White and Black women have decreased substantially, Native American women are at greater risk for being victimized. In fact, they are more than twice as likely to be victimized than Black, White, and Asian women
  • Approximately 34% of multiracial women, 27% of Alaska Native/American Indian women, 22% of black women and 14.6% of Hispanic women are survivors of sexual violence. (2011)
  • Many national studies have failed to measure levels of violence among Asian America/Pacific Islander communities, citing overly small sample sizes.
  • A 2000 Department of Justice report found that 7% of Asian American women had experienced rape, a number that almost certainly skews low due to the fact that Asian American women are the least likely to report rape and physical assault of any racial or ethnic group.
  • A more recent report on domestic violence estimates that 21–55% of Asian women report experiencing intimate physical and/or sexual violence during their lifetime. (2015)
  • There are very few studies that specifically measure violence perpetrated against undocumented immigrants. Even so, it is clear that undocumented immigrants are less likely to report violence against them for fear of deportation.
  • An estimated 80,600 inmates each year experience sexual violence while in prison or jail.
  • 60% of all sexual violence against inmates is perpetrated by jail or prison staff.
  • More than 50% of the sexual contact between inmate and staff member—all of which is illegal—is nonconsensual.
  • Sexual violence in the military often goes unreported
  • 18,900 military members experienced unwanted sexual contact in the fiscal year ending September, 2014.
  • 4.3% of active duty women and 0.9% of active duty men experienced unwanted sexual contact in FY14.
  • Of the 18,900 survivors, 43% of females and 10% of males reported.

Where does it happen?


Source: Rainn

College Campuses
  • Sexual violence on campus is pervasive.
  • 11.2% of all students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation (among all graduate and undergraduate students).
  • Among graduate and professional students, 8.8% of females and 2.2% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.
  • Among undergraduate students, 23.1% of females and 5.4% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.
  • 4.2% of students have experienced stalking since entering college.
  • Student or not, college-age adults are at high risk for sexual violence.
  • Male college-aged students (18-24) are 78% more likely than non-students of the same age to be a victim of rape or sexual assault.
  • Female college-aged students (18-24) are 20% less likely than non-students of the same age to be a victim of rape or sexual assault.
  • 84% of female survivors report being sexually assaulted during their first four semesters on campus. (2007) This has been called the ‘red zone’ on college campuses.
What was the victim doing when the crime occurred?
  • 48% were sleeping, or performing another activity at home
  • 29% were traveling to and from work or school, or traveling to shop or run errands
  • 12% were working
  • 7% were attending school
  • 5% were doing an unknown or other activity

Who are often the perpetrators?


Source: Rainn

  • The majority of children and teen victims know the perpetrator.
  • Of sexual abuse cases reported to law enforcement, 93% of juvenile victims knew the perpetrator:
    • 59% were acquaintances
    • 34% were family members
    • 7%  were strangers to the victim
  • Out of the yearly 63,000 sexual abuse cases substantiated, or found strong evidence, by Child Protective Services (CPS), the perpetrator was most often the parent:
    • 80% of perpetrators were a parent7
    • 6% were other relatives
    • 5% were “other” (from siblings to strangers)
    • 4% were unmarried partners of a parent
  • Out of the sexual abuse cases reported to CPS in 2013, 47,000 men and 5,000 women were the alleged perpetrators.
    • In 88% of the sexual abuse claims that CPS substantiates or finds supporting evidence of, the perpetrator is male. In 9% of cases they are female, and 3% are unknown.
  • Victims of sexual violence who are incarcerated are most likely to be assaulted by jail or prison staff.In jail or prison, 60% of all sexual violence against inmates is perpetrated by the institution’s staff.
  • Perpetrators of sexual violence often have criminal histories
  • Perpetrators of rape are often serial criminals.
  • Out of every 1,000 suspected rape perpetrators referred to prosecutors:
  • Perpetrators use different forms of violence to commit sexual assault
  • In 11% of rape and sexual assault incidents, the perpetrator used a weapon.
  • Personal weapons—such as hands, feet or teeth—are used against victims of sexual violence in about 2 out of 3 cases.
  • 90% of rapes and sexual assaults are perpetrated by one offender. 10% are perpetrated by two or more.

How often do people report?

  • Only 12% of college student survivors report the assault to police. Notably, only 7% of survivors of incapacitated sexual assault report to the police.  Survivors cite a number of reasons for not reporting: not wanting others to know; lack of proof; fear of retaliation; being unsure of whether what happened constitutes assault; did not know how to report; and fear of being treated poorly by the criminal justice system. (2007)
  • Only 2-10% of rapes are false reports, a rate that does not exceed the false reporting rates of other crimes. (2010) This number also includes recants, which is when a survivor chooses (for a myriad of reasons, including the faulty criminal justice system) to recant and discontinue their report.
  • In April 2015, the National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline) conducted a survey about law enforcement responses to partner abuse with survivors who used The Hotline’s chat services. Overall, 637 women with experiences of partner abuse agreed to participate in the survey.
    • Of those victims who have called the police, 2 in 3 were afraid to call the police in the future.
    • Only 1 in 5 victims actually felt safer after calling the police, and 1 in 3 victims felt less safe.
    • Of victims who have called the police, nearly half felt police discriminated against them.
    • Of victims who have called the police, 1 in 4 report being arrested or threatened with arrest.

 Most information retrieved from

“Believe survivors, change the culture”

Are these statistics shocking? What surprised you? What didn’t? Let us know by sending in any work, questions, or comments to! Stay tuned for future posts touching on sexual assault awareness month and the complexity of this issue.


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