Rape and Justice

Scope of the Problem

  • An estimated 683,000 adult women are raped each year.

  • More than half of all rapes occur before age 18; 22% occur before the age of 12, and 32% occur between the ages of 12-17.

  • Up to 85% of rapes go unreported. Between 1992-2000, 36% of rapes, 34% of attempted rapes, and 26% of sexual assaults were reported to police.

  • Approximately half of female victims are raped by someone they know; on college campuses, as many as 95% of rapes are committed by someone the woman knows. 

  • Of the cases of forcible rape reported in 1993, only 53% led to the arrest of the alleged perpetrator.

  • 59% of rape victims who reported to the police received medical treatment for their injuries, compared to 17% of rape victims who did not make police reports.

    Rape in America: A report to the Nation. National Victim Center, 1992.

    Violence Against Women report: estimates from the redesigned survey. Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, 1995.

    Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey. National Institute of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1998.

    Injury Factbook 2001-2002. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2002.

    Rape and Sexual Assault: Reporting to Police and Medical Attention, 1992-2000. U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics.

What We Know

  • Evidence, including fingerprints and rape kits from crimes dating back many years, sits in police stations across the country.
  • Using the tools available today, including fingerprint databases and DNA analysis, many of these cases could be solved.
  • These cases have not been re-opened due to a lack community awareness and a lack of critical resources, including money, community activism and empowered victims.
  • Rape continues to be a topic that is discussed in whispers, if at all. Rape victims feel stigmatized and lack community support because they can not talk about what has happened to them.