Information about Rape and Sexual Assault

General Information - Wisconsin Information




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Sexual violence is any act (verbal and/or physical) which breaks a person's trust and/or safety and is sexual in nature. The term "sexual violence" includes: rape, incest, child sexual assault, ritual abuse, date and acquaintance rape, marital or partner rape, sexual contact, sexual harassment, exposure, and voyeurism. Sexual assaults are acts of violence where sex is used as a weapon. Assaults are motivated primarily out of anger and/or a need to feel powerful by controlling, dominating, or humiliating the victim. Victims/survivors of sexual assaults are forced, coerced, and/or manipulated to participate in unwanted sexual activity. Victims/survivors do not cause their assaults and are not to blame. Offenders are responsible for their assaults.

 
  • The total number of rapes, attempted rapes, and sexual assaults increased 13.3% to 383,000 in 1999, up 50,000 from 1998. (1999 National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Statistics, 2000.)

  • 17.7 million women in the United States have been the victim of a rape or attempted rape at some point in their lives. (National Institute of Justice Centers and for Disease Control; Research in Brief, Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey. November, 1998.)

  • More than 1/2 of the victims who had experienced sexual assault as an adult had been victims of multiple assaults. (Feldhaus, K. Annals of Emergency Medicine. Volume 36, pp23-27. July, 2000.)

  • In 1999 only 28.3% of total rapes were reported to police. (1999 National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Statistics, 2000.)

  • 2% of all of the accusations of sexual assault reported to law enforcement turn out to be false, the same rate as other types of violent crime. (Reno, J., Marcus, D., Leary, M., Turman, K., First Response to Victims of Crime. Office for Victims of Crime, U.S. Department of Justice. May 2000.)

  • 89% of the victims were female; 11% were male. (1999 National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Statistics, 2000.)

  • One study found that 34% of sexual assaults occurred when victims were less than 12 years old; 33% occurred between the ages of 12-17; and 14% occurred between the ages of 18-24. (Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law enforcement: Victim, Incident, and Offender Characteristics. U.S. Department of Justice Statistics, 2000.)

  • One of every seven victims of sexual assault is under the age of 6. (Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law enforcement: Victim, Incident, and Offender Characteristics. U.S. Department of Justice Statistics, 2000.)

  • One in four victims of sexual assault under the age of 12 are boys. (Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 1999 National Report. National Center for Juvenile Justice. Washington D.C: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. September, 1999.)

  • In 1999 71% of rape or sexual assault victims knew their offenders. (Criminal Victimization in 1999: Changes 1998-1999, with trends 1993-1999. U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. August, 2000.)

  • Approximately 22% of victims are raped by intimates such as husbands or boyfriends, 47% by acquaintances, and 2 % by other relatives. (Criminal Victimization in 1999: Changes 1998-1999, with trends 1993-1999. U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. August, 2000.)

  • 38% of women surveyed said that they had sex with a husband or intimate partner when they didn't want to. 3% of women were threatened with violence if they didn't have sex, and 8% were coerced into sex after the use of physical force. (Basile, K.C. From Unwanted Sex to Wife Rape: Examining Sexual Coercion in Marriage on a Continuum of Severity. Unpublished Dissertation, 1998.)

  • Women who were raped since the age of 18 were 32% more likely than their male counterparts to report a physical injury other than the rape itself. (Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey. Tjaden, P. and Thoennes, N. U.S. Department of Justice, Centers for Disease Control, November 1998.)

  • In about 88% of forcible rapes, the victim and the offender were of the same race. (Sex Offenses and Offenders: An analysis of Data on Rape and Sexual Assault. Greenfeld, Lawrence A. U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. February, 1997.)

  • About 2/3 of sexual assaults occur between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. (Sex Offenses and Offenders: An Analysis of Data on Rape and Sexual Assault. Greenfeld, Lawrence A. U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. February, 1997.)

  • The chances that a woman will develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after being raped are between 50-90%. Sexual assault is also closely related to depression and anxiety disorders. (Population Reports: Ending Violence Against Women. Population Information Program, Center for Communication Programs. The John Hopkins School of Public Health and Center for Health and Gender Equity. 2000.)

  • 26.6% of women suffering from bulimia nervosa were raped at some point in their lives, while only 13.3% of women with no eating disorder had been raped. (Dansky, B.; Brewerton, T.; Kilpatrick, D.; and O'Neil, P.; The National Women's Study: Relationship of Victimization and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder to Bulimia Nervosa. International Journal of Eating Disorders. Volume 21(3): pp. 213-228, 1997.)

  • 50-75% of women in substance abuse treatment programs are survivors of sexual violence. (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.)

Here are the Facts for Wisconsin:  

  • An estimated 6056 sexual assaults were reported in 1998. This represents a 3% increase from the 1997 reported total.

  • 83% of victims were female, 92% offenders were male.

  • 93% of all sexual assaults were perpetrated by someone know to the victim, while 7% were committed by strangers.

  • 58% of all assaults took place in either the victim's or the offender's home.

  • 78% of all sexual assault victims were juveniles. Over 70% of all victims were 15 years old or younger.

  • The average age of the offender was 24, nine years older than the average age of the victim age of 15.

This information sheet was compiled in 2000 by the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault (WCASA).
For additional information visit the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault website: wcasa.org
© 2005 Sexual Assault and Recovery Program of Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois
A service of Family Services of Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois Inc.