Sexual Assault Occurrence | Date Rape, Female and Male Victims

Occurrence
Statistics on sexual assault are often incomplete. Slightly more than half of all sexual assaults are reported.3 Many victims are reluctant to report it owing to embarrassment, fear of retribution, feelings of guilt, being labeled promiscuous, and lack of knowledge of their rights.4 Because rates of arrest and conviction for sexual assault are low, victims may feel a sense of futility and fear of being treated as the defendant rather than the victim during court appearances.

Half of all sexual assaults involve a nonstranger, with more than 65% of these assaults occurring at the home of the victim, a friend, relative, or neighbor. Sexual assaults by strangers are more likely to occur on the street or commercial property. Nearly two-thirds of sexual assaults occur after 6 o’clock at night and more commonly before midnight. The economic burden of sexual assault includes health care costs, income lost from work, and legal or court-related activities.3

Female Victims
The annual rate of sexual assault is 4.6 per 1000 among women age 12 and older.1 More than half of the assaults are committed by a friend or acquaintance and an additional one-fourth by an intimate partner. Ninety percent of the assaults against women involve a single assailant.6 In the United States 7% of all sexual assaults occur among women over the age of 50 years,7 and 10 of 100,000 victims are aged 65 and older.8 As the only age group predominantly assaulted by strangers (79%), older women are particularly vulnerable. Many elderly women live alone and have care givers, often strangers, in their homes. Decreased physical strength, stamina, and mobility along with fewer economic resources make seeking help after an assault more difficult for the elderly.9

Male Victims
Male victims account for 48,500 assaults annually.1 Male sexual assault does not occur only in institutions.10 Stranger assault and multiple assailants are more common among men, and men are far less likely to report an assault than women.1 Expected to be in control, to be able to defend themselves, and to be the sexual aggressor, men fear the shame, societal disbelief, and potential judgment of being homosexual. Male sexual assault suggests nothing regarding the sexual orientation of the victim or the perpetrator. Most perpetrators identify themselves as heterosexual. Male sexual assault victims sustain more physical injuries than women, as anal assault is more physically traumatic than vaginal.11

Date Rape
Sixty-one percent of female sexual assault victims are under 18 years of age. One of eight college women experiences a sexual assault.2 Views that condone forced sex if a couple is dating or if the woman has had previous sexual activity plus a high rate of drug and alcohol use contribute to the problem of sexual assault of women in this age group, mostly by acquaintances. The assailant first invades the “comfort zone” of the victim physically or verbally during the intrusion stage. During the desensitization stage, the victim ignores advances by the assailant. During the isolation stage, the assailant completes the assault when alone with the victim.2 Date rape may occur before the victim fully recognizes the danger, thereby limiting the ability to escape. Voluntary participation in foreplay does not imply consent to intercourse.

Spousal Sexual Assault
Laws against spousal sexual assault now exist in most states. One of seven women are victims of marital sexual assault,12 accounting for 5% of all sexual assaults on women annually.1 Women often feel socially pressured to have sexual relations with their husbands, regardless of their feelings about the situation or the type of sexual activity. Sex may be used as a bargaining tool against anger, extramarital affairs, or limitations of money and other resources. Marital sexual assault is more frequent in marriages characterized by other forms of violence or involving alcoholic husbands. The effects on victims of marital sexual assault may be more severe than victims of stranger sexual assault. Long-term effects include distrust of men, an increased phobia of intimacy, and sexual dysfunction.13

No comments.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.