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Sexual Assault Facts

Assaults against women

87% of all sexual assault victims are female.
Nationally, every 2-3 minutes a woman is sexually assaulted.
There are more women who have suffered sexual assaults than there are women who wear glasses.
Victims range in age from infants to elderly.
The single most effective strategy used to stop an assault is an immediate physical and verbal response.

Child abuse

1 in 3 females are sexually abused before the age of eighteen.
Almost half of these abuses are incest (by intrafamilial members).
One male in eleven experiences some form of sexual victimization before the age of eighteen.
Discovery of a child’s sexual abuse usually depends on an adult’s actively listening to a child, recognizing the abuse, and reporting it.

Incest

1 in 6 females are incest survivors.
Intrafamily abuse usually occurs repeatedly over a period of months or years before it is reported.
The recent trend by the media and in classrooms to “break the silence” about incest increases the victim’s likelihood of speaking up and getting the help they need.

Assailants

97% of all sexual assault offenders are male.
85% of all sexual assaults are committed by a family member, friend, or acquaintance of the victim.
In over one-third of all sexual assaults the assailant attacks the victim in the victim’s home.

Motive

Assailants are motivated by the wish to humiliate their victims, not for a wish of sexual gratification.
70% of all sexual assaults are planned.

Race

In 90% of cases, victim and assailant are of the same race.

Reporting

All studies indicate that most sexual assaults are not reported.
Most of the assaults that are reported are the one-time incidents.
It is common for the victim to report hours or weeks after the assault, especially if the victim is a juvenile, or knew the assailant previously.
False reports of sexual assaults are found to be 2-4%, the same rate as other reported crimes.

Reactions

Sexual assault victims are usually in a state of shock after a sexual assault.  They are unsure about what to do and whom to tell.  This reaction may last several hours or several days.
Fear, shame, anger, loss of trust, detached calm, and depression are common reactions but vary with each sexual assault survivor.  These may be more lasting than the initial stage of shock.  The impact of a sexual assault is often felt strongly for a year or more and is never forgotten.  In time, the survivor may be able to put the experience into a different perspective.  The impact varies with the individual and varies over time.  The support of those around her/him is very important to the victim’s recovery.
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