Survey Findings On U.S. Rape And Domestic Violence

On December 14, The New York Times had an article titled “Nearly 1 in 5 Women in U.S. Survey Report Sexual Assault.”

The article discusses various findings from the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey that was conducted by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Various aspects of the survey are noteworthy.

A couple of excerpts from the article:

Nearly one in five women surveyed said they had been raped or had experienced an attempted rape at some point, and one in four reported having been beaten by an intimate partner. One in six women have been stalked, according to the report.


The researchers defined rape as completed forced penetration, forced penetration facilitated by drugs or alcohol, or attempted forced penetration.

By that definition, 1 percent of women surveyed reported being raped in the previous year, a figure that suggests that 1.3 million American women annually may be victims of rape or attempted rape.

That figure is significantly higher than previous estimates. The Department of Justice estimated that 188,380 Americans were victims of sexual violence last year. Only 84,767 assaults defined as forcible rapes were reported in 2010, according to national statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Trends In The Handling Of Sexual Abuse Claims

On November 25, The Wall Street Journal had an article titled “Abuse Claims Less Likely to Be Ignored.”

The article contains a variety of statistics and other commentary on how sexual abuse has been reported, handled, and punished over the years.

A couple of excerpts:

The sexual-abuse investigation at Penn State marks the latest in a string of high-profile child-molestation allegations in recent decades, but experts say that doesn’t mean such crimes are becoming more common.

Instead, they say, society has become more aware of the threat of child sexual abuse, and far more aggressive about investigating and punishing it. Sentences have grown longer, and the number of people listed on sex-offender registries has jumped.


States have also increased the penalties for convictions. The median prison sentence for sex abusers was 70 months in 2006, up from 44 months in 1996, according to the most recent data from the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics. A federal law enacted in 2006 created a mandatory sentence of at least 30 years for the aggravated sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12. There was no mandatory minimum sentence under prior federal law.

However, the article also states that experts believe that sexual abuse of children remains widely under-reported, for a variety of reasons.  It quotes one expert who cites that national surveys have indicated that only 10% of sexual abuse cases are reported to police.

Statistics Concerning College Sexual Assaults

Lately there has been much attention paid to sexual assaults on college campuses.

As to how often sexual assaults occur on college campuses, there is one report titled “Campus Sexual Assault (CSA) Study” dated October 2007 that contains various statistics.

As seen in the abstract, p. vii :

RTI has been working with two large, public universities on the CSA Study. Data were collected using a Web-based survey from over 6,800 undergraduate students (5,466 women and 1,375 men). Data indicate that 13.7% of undergraduate women had been victims of at least one completed sexual assault since entering college: 4.7% were victims of physically forced sexual assault; 7.8% of women were sexually assaulted when they were incapacitated after voluntarily consuming drugs and/or alcohol (i.e., they were victims of alcohol and/or other drug- [AOD] enabled sexual assault); 0.6% were sexually assaulted when they were incapacitated after having been given a drug without their knowledge (i.e.,
they were certain they had been victims of drug-facilitated sexual assault [DFSA]).



Various Sexual Assault Statistics

The following statistics are from (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) as seen on their page titled “Statistics” :


1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8% completed rape; 2.8% attempted rape).1

17.7 million American women have been victims of attempted or completed rape.1

15% of sexual assault and rape victims are under age 12.3

  • 29% are age 12-17.
  • 44% are under age 18.3
  • 80% are under age 30.3
  • 12-34 are the highest risk years.
  • Girls ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.

Effect Of Rape:

Victims of sexual assault are:7

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.

4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.

Sexual Assault And Its Impact On Mental Disorders

On August 3 The Huffington Post had an article titled “Sexual Assault And Domestic Violence Raise Women’s Mental Disorder Risk: Study.”

Some notable excerpts from the article:

Women are drastically more likely to develop a mental disorder at some point in their lives if they have been the victim of rape, sexual assault, stalking, or intimate-partner violence, according to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.


Researchers in Australia analyzed health data from a nationally representative sample of Australian women between the ages of 16 and 85. Episodes of sexual assault, stalking, and other “gender-based violence” were all too common, with 27 percent of the group reporting at least one episode of abuse.

Fifty-seven percent of the women with a history of abuse also had a history of depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress, substance abuse, or anxiety (including panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder), versus 28 percent of the women who had not experienced gender-based violence.

Among women who had been exposed to at least three different types of violence, the rate of mental disorders or substance abuse rose to 89 percent.


Rates of gender-based violence in the U.S. and Australia are comparable, so a study of this kind conducted in the U.S. would likely yield similar results, Rees says. Roughly one-fifth of women in the U.S. say they have experienced intimate-partner violence (which includes domestic abuse), stalking, or both, and 17 percent say they have been victims of rape or attempted rape, according to the study.

The findings drive home that violence against women is a major public health concern. “It underscores the impact on society as more than just the immediate consequences, more than just treating women in an emergency department for a violent injury,” Gielen says.