Scope of Sexual Violence

Most victims of sexual assault know their perpetrator. According to the National Crime Victim Survey, female victims reported that the perpetrator was an intimate partner (30.4%), a family member (23.7%) or an acquaintance (20%).

The true magnitude of sexual violence is difficult to assess. Violence against both men and women is greatly under reported. It is estimated that only 16% of sex crimes are actually reported; 2 therefore the reported numbers represent only a small fraction of the sexual violence that may be occurring in NYS. The NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), based on preliminary data, reported 2,736 forcible rapes in 2011.

According to the United States Department of Justice, one of every six women and one of every 33 men in this country has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in his or her lifetime.3 It is estimated that 20-25% of college women experienced an attempted or completed rape during their college careers.4

A national study found that approximately 66% of women who had been physically assaulted by their intimate partner had also been sexually assaulted by that partner.5

The majority of sexual victimization starts early in life: approximately 80% of female victims experienced their first rape before the age of 25 and almost half experienced the first rape before age 18 (30% between 11-17 years old and 12% at or before the age of 10). Twenty-eight percent of male victims of rape were first raped when they were 10 years old or younger. About 35% percent of women who were raped as minors were also raped as adults compared to 14 % of women who had not been previously raped. This data, extracted from the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey conducted in 2010, highlights the crucial importance of preventing sexual violence before it occurs.

In addition to youth, groups at increased risk of sexual violence, include those with physical and developmental disabilities, women of color, the homeless, individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT), those with addictions to drugs and alcohol and those in family environments characterized by physical violence.