By The Numbers: Sexual Assault Statistics

Sexual Assault definition (Planned Parenthood Action Fund)

Sexual Assault definition (Planned Parenthood Action Fund)

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and I couldn’t let the month pass without sharing some important statistics around sexual assault. They’re not the most fun stats, but they’re very important.

  • 1 in 5 women will be raped within their lifetime.
  • 51%+ of female rape victims were raped by an intimate partner.
  • 1 in 71 men will be raped within their lifetime.
  • 52%+ of male rape victims were raped by an acquaintance.
  • An estimated 17.7M women have been raped since 1998.
  • 21% of trans college students have been sexually assaulted.
  • American Indians are twice as likely to experience sexual assault than other races.
  • 49%+ of multiracial women will experience sexual assault in their lifetime.
  • Women and men with intellectual disabilities are seven times more likely to be the victims of sexual assaults than women and men without intellectual disabilities.
  • 80.6K inmates in jails and prisons experience sexual violence.

Josh Duggar Scandal: How Much Child Sexual Abuse Occurs Within Religious Cults?

Josh and Anna Duggar and their children (E! Online)

Josh and Anna Duggar and their children (E! Online)

Last month, eldest son of the “19 Kids and Counting” Duggar clan Josh Duggar admitted he’d sexually molested five girls when he was 14 years old in 2002, some of which were his sisters. (When these incidents took place, Duggar had five sisters, who ranged in age from four to 12.)

More revelations came out over the days that followed: Duggar was sent away to a friend who had a home remodeling business after he admitted what he’d done; he didn’t receive any counseling, contrary to what had initially been stated, and Duggar was given a minor talking-to from Arkansas State Trooper Jim Hutchens, who’s now in prison for child pornography. After the allegations came to light, a judge ordered the incriminating documents be destroyed, apparently on behalf of one of the alleged victims.

The Duggar family is part of the Quiverfull movement, a worldview that purports to be about Christianity and living Biblically. Earmarks of being Quiverfull include having lots of children (supplying Christian soldiers to prepare for the upcoming spiritual battle), dressing modestly and shaming victims of sexual abuse.

Until now, the fact that the Quiverfull movement is a cult has flown under the radar. But now it’s come under the scrutiny of a full-fledged public spotlight.

I wanted to find some statistics on sexual abuse, especially child/incestual sexual abuse, within cults. Unsurprisingly, I was unable to find anything. No long-range studies have been done. This makes sense: Cults usually want to cover their tracks, and make themselves look like they aren’t cults at all and are completely normal. In terms of gathering information, it’d be very hard to infiltrate and gain members’ trust to get an accurate picture of what occurs within one. Even if a member did admit to something, they might see it as totally normal.

Unfortunately, the statue of limitations on Duggar’s heinous acts has now expired. But now we have some idea of the long-ranging detrimental effects of the Quiverfull movement. There are better ways to help victims of sexual abuse and molestation, regardless of their personal viewpoint.




Lena Dunham Allegations: How Common is Sibling Sexual Abuse?

Lena Dunham

Lena Dunham

In the past few days, the Internet has exploded in calling “Girls” creator and actress Lena Dunham a sexual abuser. In her memoir “Not That Kind of Girl,” Dunham details pulling apart the lips of her baby sister’s vagina, among other instances.

Whether or not Dunham deserves the abuser label remains to be seen (we haven’t heard anything direct from her sister yet), but it does bring up the question of how common sexual abuse at the hands of siblings is.

Pandora’s Project, a sexual abuse survivors’ resource site, makes the main point that child sexual abuse is, at its core, an imbalance of power between siblings. It notes that around 15% of people report “some sort of sexual activity with a sibling in childhood.” (However, this doesn’t distinguish between healthy curiosity and abuse.) Studies have also shown that between 2% and 4% of people “have been sexually victimized by a sibling as the sexual contact involved some degree of forced or coercive activity.”

Pandora’s Project also defines the age range at which curiosity becomes abuse as “a significant difference in developmental age,” determined as more than three years. In her essay, Dunham was seven years old, and her sister was a one year-old.

Maybe this revelation will start a new conversation on sibling sexual abuse. It’ll be interesting to see if Dunham receives any further backlash from this: She’s already canceled two upcoming European appearances.

Child Sexual Abuse: By The Numbers

Sad Child

Sad Child

Not all sexual stats are fun. Sometimes, we have to get heavy here. Child sexual abuse is never a easy topic for anyone, but it’s useful to know the facts to stop and prevent it.

All numbers from the National Sex Offender Public Website stats page:

Ratio of girls sexually abused before age 18: 1 in 4

Ratio of boys sexually abused before age 18: 1 in 6

Victims ages 12-14: 26%

Victims ages 9 and younger: 34%

Percentage of female juvenile victims: 82%

Percentage of sexual assaults that occur between the ages of 12-17: 35.8%

Approximate number of U.S. adolescent victims: 1.8M


If you’re a victim of sexual abuse, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at (800) 656-HOPE. Your call is anonymous, confidential and free of charge. For more details on how to help a victim, visit Help and Support for Victims.