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The Facts About Sexual Assault

Survivors of sexual assault often face significant challenges in overcoming their trauma, including diminished mental and physical health, lack of financial resources to access medical care, difficulties maintaining regular routines (including stable employment, housing and parenting) and a lack of familiarity with accessing resources and trusting service providers.

Sexual Assault: The Facts

  • Every 92 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. (S
  • Ages 12-34 are the highest risk years for rape and sexual assault. 
  • More than 1 in 3 women and nearly 1 in 4 men have experienced sexual violence involving physical contact at some point in their lives. 
  • Approximately 1 in 5 women in the U.S. reported completed or attempted rape at some point in their lifetime. About 1 in 14 men was made to penetrate someone else (attempted or completed) at some point in their lifetime. 
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • An estimated 80,600 inmates each year experience sexual violence while in prison or jail. Victims of sexual violence who are incarcerated are most likely to be assaulted by jail or prison staff. 
  • The likelihood that a person suffers suicidal or depressive thoughts increases after sexual violence. Sexual violence also affects victims’ relationships with their family, friends, and co-workers. 

Most men who commit sexual offenses do not know their victim.
False –  90 percent of child victims know their offender, with almost half of the offenders being a family member. Of sexual assaults against people age 12 and up, approximately 80 percent of the victims know the offender.
Most sexual assaults are committed by someone of the same race as the victim.
True – Most sexual assaults are committed by someone of the same race as the victim. An exception to this is that people who commit sexual assault against Native Americans are usually not Native American.
Most child sexual abusers use physical force or threat to gain compliance from their victims.
False – In the majority of cases, abusers gain access to their victims through deception and enticement, seldom using force. Abuse typically occurs within a long-term, on-going relationship between the offender and victim and escalates over time.
Most child sexual abusers find their victims by frequenting such places as schoolyards and playgrounds.
False – Most child sexual abusers offend against children whom they know and with whom they have established a relationship. Many sexual assaults of adult women are considered “confidence rapes,” in that the offender knows the victim and has used that familiarity to gain access to her.
Only men commit sexual assault.
False – While most sex offenders are male, research indicates that 20 percent of sex offenses against children may be committed by female offenders.

Child sexual abusers are only attracted to children and are not capable of appropriate sexual relationships.
False – While there is a small subset of child sexual abusers who are exclusively attracted to children, the majority of the individuals who sexually abuse children are, or have previously been, attracted to adults.