These statistics will change the way that you think about sexual assault in America. More than half a million people, an estimated 627,700, are victims of sexual assault each year. Here is what these shocking statistics look like when they are put into perspective.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice released a report on violent crimes in America, including sexual assault.
The report revealed that in 2015, 204,000 people reported being sexually assaulted.
Sexual assault is defined as the following.
“An attack involving unwanted sexual contact between the victim and offender that may or may not involve force.”
This definition includes rape.
Ninety-one percent of the 204,000 individuals were female. The Department of Justice determined that only 32.5 percent of these crimes are reported.
With that in mind, it is an estimated 627,700 victims that are victims of sexual assault each year.
The Vox published charts to put the statistic into perspective for people.
“There were more victims of sexual assault last year alone than people killed in motor vehicle accidents since 2000.”
From 2000-2015, there were 611,174 motor vehicle deaths. That is 16,526 less than the number of sexual assaults last year.
“More people are sexually assaulted in the US each year than the entire population of Las Vegas, Atlanta, or Miami.”
Las Vegas has a population of 623,700 people, Atlanta’s population is 463, 878, and Miami’s is 441,000.
“There are more victims of sexual assault in the US each year than there were attendees at one of history’s biggest music festivals.”
An estimated 400,000 people attended the 1969 Woodstock festival.
“There are more victims of sexual assault each year than every soldier killed in World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War combined.”
There were 405,399 deaths in World War II, 116,416 deaths in World War I, and 58,209 deaths in Vietnam.
If the 627,700 sexual assault victims were to get together and form a new city, it would be the 28th most populated city in America, the 800th most populated in the world, and it would outrank 66 others if they were to form their own country.
These statistics are based on just one year of sexual assault in the United States.
Sexual assault has been a major topic in the upcoming presidential election. Donald Trump has been accused by a number of women of sexually assaulting them.
People were quick to judge the women coming forward, asking why they had waited until now to come forward on the sexual assault allegations.
This brings up the ever-present issue of victim blaming.
According to The Washington Post, 68 percent of Americans think that Donald Trump really did make unwanted sexual advances towards these women, one in five are still planning to vote for him come Election Day.
Public figures blamed and doubted Bill Cosby’s accusers, even when there were 60 women who had come forward claiming they had been sexually abused by the actor.
The CDC estimates that one in five women experience sexual assault and that only two to eight percent of sexual assault reports are false. So why are people so quick to doubt the victim?
Victims are likely to be asked what they were wearing, was it too provocative? Did she willingly go somewhere alone? Is her attacker famous or powerful?
The answer to these questions does not make the attacker any less guilty of sexual assault.
The Daily Beast published a story about rape culture in America. Women have been sexually assaulted since the beginning of time.
“Legal change does not necessarily change culture.”
For most of human history, rape had been treated as a property crime against a woman’s husband or father.
For most of American history, women have had to prove that they were chaste and proper and that they gave their best fight possible to have any chance of winning a rape case in court.
Marital rape has only been illegal in this country for a few decades, as the husband was assumed to have “owned” his wife.
Women are consistently blamed for sexual assaults committed against them. The statistics that were released by the Department of Justice prove just how many women are affected by sexual abuse on an annual basis.
It is much more likely that a sexual abuse victim is telling the truth than falsifying a claim.
Did these statistics demonstrate what a prevalent issue sexual assault is in the United States? Too many women are affected by sexual abuse every day.
The National Sexual Assault Hotline connects trained staff members from a sexual assault provider to victims by calling 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to www.rainn.org.
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