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Questions and Answers

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How common is rape?

  • The self-reported incidence of rape or sexual assault more than doubled from 1.4 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older in 2017 to 2.7 in 2018.

     — Morgan and Oudekerk, 2019
  • Based on data from the survey, it is estimated that 734,630 people were raped (threatened, attempted, or completed) in the United States in 2018.

     — Morgan and Oudekerk, 2019
  • Approximately 1 in 5 (21.3% or an estimated 25.5 million) women in the U.S. reported completed or attempted rape at some point in their lifetime, including completed forced penetration, attempted forced penetration, or alcohol/drug facilitated completed penetration. About 2.6% of U.S. men (an estimated 2.8 million) experienced completed or attempted rape victimization in their lifetime.

     — Smith et al., 2018
  • More than half (51.1%) of female victims of rape reported being raped by an intimate partner and 40.8% by an acquaintance; for male victims, more than half (52.4%) reported being raped by an acquaintance and 15.1% by a stranger.

     — Black et al., 2011
  • Thirty-seven (37%) of the total violent victimization experienced was identified as rape, sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated assault.

     — Morgan and Oudekerk, 2019
  • Approximately 1 in 5 (21.3% or an estimated 25.5 million) women in the U.S. reported completed or attempted rape at some point in their lifetime, including completed forced penetration, attempted forced penetration, or alcohol/drug facilitated completed penetration. About 2.6% of U.S. men (an estimated 2.8 million) experienced completed or attempted rape victimization in their lifetime.

     — Smith et al., 2018
  • Approximately 1 in 5 (21.3% or an estimated 25.5 million) women in the U.S. reported completed or attempted rape at some point in their lifetime, including completed forced penetration, attempted forced penetration, or alcohol/drug facilitated completed penetration. About 2.6% of U.S. men (an estimated 2.8 million) experienced completed or attempted rape victimization in their lifetime.

     — Smith et al., 2018
  • More than half (51.1%) of female victims of rape reported being raped by an intimate partner and 40.8% by an acquaintance; for male victims, more than half (52.4%) reported being raped by an acquaintance and 15.1% by a stranger.

     — Black et al., 2011

How often are men raped?

  • More than one-quarter of male victims of completed rape (27.8%) experienced their first rape when they were 10 years of age or younger.

     — Black et al., 2011
  • Nearly 1 in 5 women (18.3%) and 1 in 71 men (1.4%) in the United States have been raped at some time in their lives, including completed forced penetration, attempted forced penetration, or alcohol/drug facilitated completed penetration.

     — Black et al., 2011
  • About 1 in 14 men (7.1% or nearly 7.9 million) in the U.S. was made to penetrate someone else (attempted or completed) at some point in their lifetime.

     — Smith et al., 2018
  • The majority of male victims (70.8% or an estimated 2.0 million) of completed or attempted rape reported that their first experience occurred prior to age 25.

     — Smith et al., 2018
  • Approximately 1 in 21 men (4.8%) reported that they were made to penetrate someone else during their lifetime; most men who were made to penetrate someone else reported that the perpetrator was either an intimate partner (44.8%) or an acquaintance (44.7%).

     — Black et al., 2011
  • Nearly 1 in 5 women (18.3%) and 1 in 71 men (1.4%) in the United States have been raped at some time in their lives, including completed forced penetration, attempted forced penetration, or alcohol/drug facilitated completed penetration.

     — Black et al., 2011

How often are women raped?

  • Most female victims of completed rape (79.6%) experienced their first rape before the age of 25; 42.2% experienced their first completed rape before the age of 18 years.

     — Black et al., 2011
  • Almost one in four undergraduate women experienced sexual assault or misconduct at 33 of the nation's major universities.

     — Cantor et al., 2019
  • A majority of female victims of completed or attempted rape first experienced such victimization early in life, with 81.3% (nearly 20.8 million victims) reporting that it first occurred prior to age 25.

     — Smith et al., 2018

How common is sexual coercion?

  • An estimated 13% of women and 6% of men have experienced sexual coercion in their lifetime (i.e., unwanted sexual penetration after being pressured in a nonphysical way); and 27.2% of women and 11.7% of men have experienced unwanted sexual contact.

     — Black et al., 2011
  • Approximately 1 in 6 women (16.1% or an estimated 19.2 million women) and approximately 1 in 10 men (9.6% or an estimated 10.6 million men) experienced sexual coercion (e.g., being worn down by someone who repeatedly asked for sex, sexual pressure due to someone using their influence or authority) at some point in their lifetime.

     — Smith et al., 2018

How often is rape reported to law enforcement?

  • Despite the increase in self-reports of rape and sexual assault, there was a decrease in reporting to police from 2017 to 2018. Forty-percent (40%) of rapes and sexual assaults were reported to police in 2017, but only about 25% were reported to police in 2018.

     — Morgan and Oudekerk, 2019