Statistics show that every 60 seconds, 1.3 women (age 18 and over) in the U.S. are forcibly raped. That is 78 women raped each hour; 1871 each day, or 683,000 each year.(1) Taking into consideration that more than half of all rape victims are under the age of 18, this statistic becomes even more devastating. The American Medical Association has called sexual assault the “silent, violent epidemic.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognizes that sexual violence is a serious public health issue, with short term and long term consequences for its victims and their families. The impact of sexual assault on survivors and their healing depends on many factors: the nature of the assault; the number of assault episodes; the levels of violence; the relationship between the survivor and the perpetrator; and the presence of a good support system. These factors will determine the survivor’s immediate needs and resources for long-term healing.
In the United States rape is the most costly crime to its victims totaling $127 billion a year considering factors such as medical cost, lost earnings, pain, suffering and lost quality of life.(2) While not minimizing the physical, psychological or financial consequences for a victim, the following statistics would also indicate the possible economic impact on the general public as well:
- 50-75% of women in substance abuse treatment programs are survivors of sexual violence.(3)
- Rape victims are 13 times more likely than non-crime victims to have attempted suicide.(4)
- Female survivors of child sexual abuse were four times more likely than non-survivors to have worked as a prostitute; male survivors were eight times as likely. (5)
- The chances that a woman will develop PTSD after being raped are between 50 and 95 percent.(6)
- Girls who were raped are about three times more likely to suffer from psychiatric disorders and over four times more likely to suffer from drug and alcohol abuse in adulthood.(7)
- 30% of female stalking victims and 20% of male stalking victims seek psychological counseling as a result of their victimization.(8)
- Nearly 24% of sexually active girls younger than 13 years old reported that their first intercourse was non-consensual.(9)
- Female students who have been physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner in the 9th through 12th grades are at increased risk for substance abuse, unhealthy weight control, risky sexual behavior, pregnancy and suicide.(10)
- Half of all juvenile offenders have been sexually assaulted by age 18, and without help 4 out of 10 will sexually assault others.(11)
- There are currently 6,324 registered sex offenders in Arkansas.(12)
Sexual assault is a crime of violence affecting women, children and men in all counties in Arkansas, regardless of race, culture, age or socio-economic status. While government and institutions have a particular responsibility to demonstrate leadership and provide resources, everyone has a part to play in bringing about an end to sexual violence in our communities.
(1) Kilpatrick, D.G. Edmunds, C.N. & Seymour, A. Rape in America: A Report to the Nation, Arlington, VA; National Victim Center, 1992.
(2) Miller, Ted, Mark Cohen & Brian Wiersema. (January 1996) Victims Costs & Consequences: A New Look. Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Justice Report, U.S. Department of Justice.
(3) Homeless, Addictions, and Mental Illness, 1997. Anderson, C. and Chiocchio, K. Sexual Abuse in the Lives of Women Diagnosed with Serious Mental Illness. Harris, M. ed., pp21-37.
(4) National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center. nd. The Mental Health Impact of Rape, Charleston, SC: Medical University of South Carolina..
(5) American Journal of Public Health, 1991.
(6) Population Information Program, Population Reports: ending Violence Against Women (2000). Center for Communications Programs. The Johns Hopkins School of Public Health & Center for Health and Gender Equity.
(7) Kendler, Kenneth S., et al. Archives of General Psychiatry. Medical College of Virginia Commonwealth University, 2000.
(8) National Institute o Justice, 1998l Stalking in America: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.
(9) Abma, Joyce, Anne Driscoll, and Kristin Moore. “Young Women’s Degree of Control over First Intercourse: An Exploratory Analysis,” Family Planning Perspectives. Vol. 30, No. 1, January/February 1998.
(1) Silverman, Jay, Anita Raj, Lorelei Mucci, and Jeanne Hathaway. Dating Violence Against Adolescent Girls and Associated Substance Use, Unhealthy Weight Control, Sexual Risk Behavior, Pregnancy, and Suicidality Journal of the American Medical Association, 286(5):572-579, 2001.
(11) Murphy & Page, 2000.
(12) ACIC, Nov. 2007.