Statistics on Sexual Assault
The Office for Victims of Crime has reported the following statistics concerning sexual assault:
Police receive notification of only one-third of sexual assaults.
During their lives, 19 percent of women and 2 percent of men experience rape, whereas 44 percent of women and 23 percent of men suffer from another form of sexual assault.
In 2015, there were 0.3 cases of sexual assault per 1,000 men and 2.2 cases per 1,000 women.
Only 19 percent of sexual assault victims receive supportive services.
Among heterosexual females who are raped, 38 percent of them experience the first assault between the ages of 18 and 24, and 28 percent experience it between the ages of 11 and 17.
A survey of college students has revealed that 65 percent of students who suffer rape share the experience with a friend or relative, whereas under 10 percent of them notify police or school administrators.
Treating Sexual Assault
Despite the psychological consequences of sexual assault, effective treatment is available. As the authors of a report in a 2009 edition of Clinical Psychology Review have reported, treatment for sexual assault tends to focus on recovering from anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress.
According to the research, various forms of therapy, including cognitive processing therapy, prolonged exposure therapy, stress inoculation training, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing may be effective for treating victims of sexual assault.
Local community mental health centers can provide information about treatment programs for sexual assault and complete the intake process for anyone seeking treatment. It is important that treatment programs are comprehensive and provide services to address the trauma of the sexual assault, as well as any co-occurring conditions, such as substance use disorders.
In treatment, victims of sexual assault can talk about their experiences, process their emotions, and overcome the trauma associated with the sexual violence.
While ongoing counseling services are likely necessary to heal from trauma, immediate treatment of sexual assault typically involves contacting law enforcement and receiving treatment from a local hospital, where staff can assess and treat any injuries sustained during the assault. Sexual assault is a violation of the law, and law enforcement officers can investigate to determine if a crime has been committed.
National Sexual Assault Hotline
The Office on Women’s Health has also reported that there is a National Sexual Assault Hotline that can offer support 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, and provide linkage to resources. This hotline can be reached by calling 800-656-4673.
Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE)
In hospital settings and in some domestic violence shelters, a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) can provide a forensic medical evaluation and coordinate with law enforcement officials who are investigating sex crimes. These professional are trained to collect evidence after an assault in a manner that it can be used in a court trial in the future.
The International Association of Forensic Nurses provides a search tool that can locate SANE service providers.
Misconceptions About Sexual Assault
Assaults Don’t Happen Within Relationships
There are some common misconceptions surrounding sexual assault. One such misconception is the belief that a person cannot be assaulted by someone with whom they are in a relationship. While this belief is relatively widespread, the reality is that among female rape victims, 51 percent report that an intimate partner was the perpetrator, as determined by the results of the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey.
Abusers are Complete Strangers
Another misconception some people may hold regarding sexual assault is that the perpetrator is likely to be a random stranger. In reality, 40.8 percent of female rape victims report that the abuser was at least an acquaintance.
Among men, 52.4 percent of rape victims report that an acquaintance was the abuser, and only 15.1 percent of them report being abused by a stranger.
It is more likely that a person will suffer sexual assault at the hands of a partner or someone they know than from a complete stranger.
Men Don’t Get Sexually Assaulted
People may also hold a stereotypical view that women are always the victims of sexual assault, with men being the perpetrators, but as The Office for Victims of Crime has reported, nearly one-fourth of men experience a sexual assault other than rape during their lives, and 2 percent experience rape. While women may more often be the victims of sexual violence, men can also experience a sexual assault.