Friday, September 04, 2009

Estimated 203,830 Rapes/Sexual Assaults In 2008

This estimate of 203,830 sexual assaults/rapes (164,240 female victims, 39,590 male victims) is from the latest crime victimization survey put out in a Bureau of Justice Statistics Bulletin (pdf). This victimization survey (abstract here) is for those 12 and over only so this estimate doesn't include rapes and sexual assaults of children under age 12. Because this is a victim survey it excludes any rapes/sexual assaults where the victim was also murdered.

The estimate for sexual assault/rape is down from 248,300 in 2007 which I hope means that the 18.5% drop reflects a real reduction in sexual violence. Unfortunately, the report says there is no statistical difference between 2007 and 2008 for any crime of violence. The trend between 1999 and 2008 for rape and sexual assault is a 52.6% decline which is statistically significant. This sounds great until I read that the annual rates of sexual assault/rape based on population have been stable statistically since 2000.

Those who view telling women how to avoid being raped miss the mark in their warnings. The highest percentage of perpetrators (42%) were classified as friend/acquaintance while only 32% of perpetrators were classified as strangers. Intimate partners (current or former spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends) were identified in 18% of the reports from women.

The number of sample cases for sexual assault rape was less than 10 so the statistics may not reflect actual trends.

What a press release from the Family Violence Prevention Fund focused on was that intimate partners were listed as perpetrators in 23% of all reported acts of violence against girls and women (504,980) while this rate for male victims was only 3% (88,120). This is important data. Just as important is that those aged 12-24 had the highest rate of victimization among those surveyed.

From the press release:
We have identified violence prevention programs that help stop domestic and sexual violence, and services that are effective in protecting victims. But we aren’t taking those programs to scale and implementing them as widely as we should. In fact, in some ways we are going backward. California Governor Schwarzenegger recently eliminated the state’s Domestic Violence Program, domestic and sexual violence programs around the country are in danger of being cut or eliminated by state legislatures, and Congress has yet to fully fund the Violence Against Women Act. If we want to continue the progress of the last decade, that must change.”

I agree. Fortunately, many individuals and groups are dedicated to making this change happen.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:04 AM   0 comments links to this post

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