National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Sexual Assault

Each year approximately 207,754 sexual assaults occur in the United States (RAINN). However, despite that astounding number, sexual assault is still not widely discussed.

To conclude Sexual Assault Awareness Month, please read this list of 10 things you might not know about sexual assault. Sexual assault is not just rape or attempted rape — it is any unwanted sexual contact or advances, preventing someone or being prevented from using birth control and/or rough or violent sexual behavior. Read the definition from The National Center for Victims of Crime to learn more.

1. One in every 10 sexual assault victims is male (RAINN).

2. Sexual assault occurs as often during the daytime as it does during the night (Stanford Sexual Assault and Relationship Abuse Prevention & Support).

3. Forty-four percent of sexual assault victims are under the age of 18. Eighty percent of sexual assault victims are under the age of 30 (RAINN).

4. Victims of sexual assault are more prone to depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, trouble sleeping and anxiety disorders (CDC).

5. Two-thirds of assaults are perpetrated by someone whom the victim knows. Thirty-eight percent of rapists are a friend or acquaintance of the victim (RAINN).

6. Nearly one in four women will experience sexual assault in their lifetime (National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence).

7. Half of all sexual assaults happen within one mile of the victim’s home (RAINN).

8. Out of every 100 sexual assaults, only 46 get reported to the police. Out of those 46 reports, only 12 will lead to an arrest. Out of those 12 arrests, only nine attackers will be prosecuted.

9. Out of those prosecutions, only five will lead to a felony conviction. Despite those five convictions, only three of the perpetrators spend a single day in jail. That means that 97 attackers walk away unscathed (RAINN).

10. Some good news: the instances of sexual assault have decreased nearly 60 percent since 2000, although they are still staggeringly high (U.S. Department of Justice).

Despite the decrease in frequency over the past decade, sexual assault is still an extremely prevalent and pervasive crime in the United States. Please take a moment today to spread awareness about this critical issue.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

The History of Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is nationally recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). During this time advocates work to raise awareness about sexual violence and educate communities around the nation about how to prevent sexual assault.

This year’s campaign, It’s Time to Talk About It, focuses on healthy sexuality and encourages people to discuss how we can respect one another in order to prevent sexual violence. It’s Time To Talk About It will provide tools and resources to promote positive expressions of sexuality and healthy behaviors.

SAAM has been a nationally recognized event since the early 2000s, but it was many years in the making.

In the late 1970s women began working to “Take Back the Night” in response to the violence that was being experienced while walking through city streets after sundown. The initial female-only protests were meant to share information about sexual assault with the communities they took place in. By the 1980s these sexual assault awareness activities had expanded to include the issue of violence against women. It wasn’t long before these activities expanded even more and encompassed violence against men, and males began participating to raise awareness.

In the late 1980s, the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault began developing interest in selecting a designated time period to promote awareness. An informal poll of sexual assault coalition agencies revealed that April would be a suitable month, and the national Sexual Assault Awareness Week was established.

It wasn’t until the late 1990s that this week was expanded to an entire month. In April of 2001, SAAM as we know it was celebrated for the first time.

Each year the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) works to coordinate SAAM activities nationwide. The organization provides resources to advocates nationwide to help them plan and facilitate their programs during the month.

Over the last few years, the NSVRC has placed increasing emphasis on the prevention of sexual violence. As a result, the SAAM campaigns have been increasingly geared toward educating young people.

The goal of this month is to build safe, healthy and respectful relationships.

For more information or to find out how you can get involved, please visit the SAAM/NSVRC website.