I am part of a coallition of feminist activists organizing to raise awareness about male violence against women and women’s economic poverty. And, when I say “part of” I mean I mostly just sit in the same room with some of the most brilliant women on the planet, in stunned awe at their amazingness, and try every now and then to contribute a miniscule something useful to the discussion.  At any rate, one woman collected some stats on rape and male perpetrated sexual assault on women, and these feel so harrowing, and important to me, I want to share. Some of the ones that hit me hardest: “A survey of high school students found that one in five had experienced forced sex (rape). Half of these girls told no one about the incident, ” “In a study done in the 1980’s, 30% of rape survivors contemplate suicide after the rape,” and “82% of rape survivors in this study said being sexually assaulted permanently changed them.” Also interesting to me how often other white people ask me, “Is it safe living in Harlem?” with no awareness of the stat below that mentions how %60 percent of all men who rape are white.


Perpetrators of Sexual Assault  

  • 99% of people who rape are men, 60% are Caucasian. (4)
  • Between 62% (2) and 84% (1) of survivors knew their attacker.
  • 8% of men admit committing acts that meet the legal definition of rape or attempted rape. Of these men who committed rape, 84% said that what they did was definitely not rape. (1)
  • More than one in five men report “becoming so sexually aroused that they could not stop themselves from having sex, even though the woman did not consent.” (5)
  • 35% of men report at least some degree of likelihood of raping if they could be assured they wouldn’t be caught or punished. (6)
  • Sexual assault offenders were substantially more likely than any other category of violent criminal to report experiencing physical or sexual abuse as children. (4)
  • In one study, 98% of men who raped boys reported that they were heterosexual. (7)

Victims of Sexual Assault – Survivors

  • False reports of rape are rare, according to the FBI, occurring only 8% of the time. (8)
  • A survey of high school students found that one in five had experienced forced sex (rape). Half of these girls told no one about the incident. (3)

Circumstances of Rape


  • Approximately 40% of sexual assaults take place in the survivor’s home. About 20% occur in the home of a friend, neighbor, or relative. 10% occur outside, away from home. About 8% take place in parking garages. (4)
  • More than half of all rape and sexual assault incidents occurred within one mile of the survivor’s home or in her home. (4)

Trauma; Psychological and Physical Health Effects of Sexual Assault (on Victims/Survivors)

  • In a study done in the 1980’s, 30% of rape survivors contemplate suicide after the rape. (1)
  • 82% of rape survivors in this study said being sexually assaulted permanently changed them. (1)
  • The adult pregnancy rate associated with rape is estimated to be 4.7%. (9)

Reporting and (Legal) Consequences of Rape for Perpetrators

  • In a study done in the 1980’s, 5% of rape survivors reported the crime to the police. 95% did not report the rape to the police. (1)
  • 42% of rape survivors in this study said they told no one about the rape. (1)
  • Throughout the last 10 years, the National Crime Victimization Survey has reported that approximately 30% of rape survivors report the incident to the police. (2)
  • Of those rapes reported to the police (which is 1/3 or less to begin with), only 16% result in prison sentences. Therefore, approximately 5% of the time, a man who rapes ends up in prison, 95% of the time he does not. (2)

1.     Warsaw, R. I Never Called it Rape. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1994.
2.    Rennison, C. M. “National Crime Victimization Survey, Criminal Victimization 2001: Changes from 2000-2001 with Trends 1993-2001,” Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, NCJ 187007, 2002.
3.    Davis, T. C, G. Q. Peck, and J. M. Storment. “Acquantaince Rape and the High School Student.” Journal of Adolescent Health 14 (1993): 220-24.
4.    Greenfeld, L. A. Sex Offenses and Offenders: An Analysis of Data on Rape and Sexual Assault, Washington, D. C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1997.
5.    Peterson, S. A., and B. Franzese. “Correlates of College Men’s Sexual Abuse of Women.” Journal of College Student Personnel 28 (1987): 223-28.
6.    Malamuth, N. M. “Rape Proclivity Among Males.” Journal of Social Issues 37 (1981): 138-57.
7. “Sexual Abuse of Boys,” Journal of the American Medical Association, December 2, 1998.
8. Federal Bureau of Investigation. Uniform Crime Reports. Washington, D.C.: United States Department of Justice, 1995.
9. Homes, M. M., H. S. Resnick, D. G. Kilpartrick, and C. L. Best. “Rape-related Pregnancy: Estimates and Descriptive Chracteristics From a National Sample of Women.” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 175 (1996): 320-24.



Domestic violence (DV) does not discriminate and it impacts women irrespective of social, economic, religious or cultural group (WHO, 2002). In the United States, nearly 1.5 million women are assaulted by an intimate partner every year (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000). Furthermore, most incidents of DV will never be reported (AARDVARC, 2009). This amounts to between 25% and 33% of women facing DV in their lifetime. While women are not the only victims of DV, they make up 85-90% of DV victims.  A disproportionate amount of DV victims are young women between the ages of 18-25.
In 2008, New York City’s Domestic Violence Hotline advocates answered 134, 903 calls, averaging 307 calls per day (NYC Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, 2009). Domestic violence is increasingly seen as an important public health problem due to the harmful physical and psychological effects of DV on women (WHO; National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 2003). Abused women do not only suffer from acute injuries, but also experience higher risk of serious health consequences such as chronic pain, abdominal complaints, sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancies, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, miscarriages and premature labor (Pichta, 2004; AARVARC, 2009).

World Health Organization. (2002). Constitution of the World Health Organization. Geneva: World Health Organization.
Tjaden, P. & Thoennes, N. (2000). Extent, nature, and consequences of intimate partner violence: Findings from the national violence against women survey. Washington, DC: Center for disease control and prevention.

New York City Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence. (2009). Key New York City initiatives. New York, NY: Author. Retrieved September 26, 2009 from the World Wide Web: http://www.nyc.gov/html/ocdv/downloads/pdf/July-09-initiative.pdf

National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. (2003). Costs of intimate partner violence against women in the United States. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved October 1, 2009 from the World Wide Web: http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pub/IPV_cost.html

AARDVARC. (2009). AARDVARC: An abuse, rape and domestic violence aid and resource collection. Retrieved November 5, 2009, from the World Wide Web: http://www.aardvarc.org/