What is Sexual Assault?
Sexual Assault, as defined by the United States Department of Justice, is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of Sexual Assault are sexual activities as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.
Some things that you probably didn't know:
- In the United States of America, a sexual assault occurs every 107 seconds.
- There are approximately 293,000 victims of sexual assault in the USA every year.
- 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. That factors out to approximately 17.7 million women.
- In 2003, 9 out of every 10 victims were women.
- 1 out of every 33 American men has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in his lifetime. That factors out to approximately 2.78 million men.
- 15% of sexual assault victims are under the age of 12. Child Protective Service responds to a report of sexual abuse every 8 minutes in the United States.
- 93% of juvenile sexual assault victims know their attacker.
"I'm just a college student, I'm not in the real world yet. I'll worry about that later."
It's Better to Be Sure:
- Women 18-24 who are enrolled in college are 3 times more likely than women, in general, to suffer from sexual violence.
- 8% of ALL sexual assaults occur while the victim is attending school.
- Victims of Sexual Assault are 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 and 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.
Who Does This?
- We wish that we could tell you that is was just someone hiding in the shadows, but 4 out of 5 rapes were committed by someone known to the victim.
- 47% of rapists are a friend or an acquaintance to the victim.
- 25% of rapists are an intimate partner with the victim.
- 5% of rapists are relatives of the victim.
- 50% of all reported sexual assault incidents occur at or within 1 mile of the victims dwelling and 43% occur between the hours of 6 p.m. and midnight.
- 52% of perpetrators are Caucasian, and 22% of individuals imprisoned for rape/sexual assault report that they were married at the time of the assault.
- 1 in 3 sexual assault incidents report that the perpetrator was intoxicated, either with alcohol or drugs.
- In 84% of reported cases, the victim states that only physical force was used.
- 46% of rapists who were released from prison were re-arrested within 3 years of their release for another crime.
"Surely we are safe though, I mean these people get caught, right?"
Unfortunately, Sexual Assault remains one of the most under-reported crimes in America. It is believed that nearly 68% of all sexual assault incidents go unreported to police.
Because of this staggering statistic, only approximately 2% of all perpetrators will ever serve 1 day in prison.
"It sounds like I should lock myself in a windowless room and never come out"
We are certain that there are many parents in this world that wish they could keep their children in the house and never let them out, but we all know that's not possible. Instead, follow some simple guidelines to be as safe as possible. Please understand, that sexual assault cannot be prevented 100% of the time, but if we all practice safety, we can reduce your chances of falling victim to sexual violence.
Educate Yourself, Be Prepared
Many women are caught totally off guard during a sexual assault incident. Take the time to learn about these attacks and use resources available to help you prepare for and fend off a sexual predator. Try to never travel alone, especially on foot. Your car/house keys can make a very effective weapon if necessary, keep them in your hand or readily accessible should you need them quickly. A whistle is not only easy to access but most of the time it is loud enough to draw attention to you and your attacker, get into the habit of carrying one, it can be easily placed on your key ring. OC or Pepper spray is also an effective weapon if used correctly. Remember to always make certain that you are properly trained in any type of weapon that you carry.
Be Aware of your Surroundings and Situation
Never go anywhere with anyone that you are not sure about. If something feels off, then it usually is. Many cases of sexual assault happen when the victim is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Always pay attention to what is going on around you and never let yourself get caught in an unpopulated, unfamiliar area with a stranger. Walk in places with adequate lighting and avoid places with bushes and dark alleys. Have your car doors locked anytime that you are away from your vehicle and always have your cell phone handy.
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1 (800) 656-4673
Lynchburg Police Department: 1 (434) 455-6050
Virginia State Police: 1 (434) 352-5195
Liberty University Police Department: 1 (434) 592-7641
Statistics Provided by The US Dept. of Justice and RAINN