From Responding to Sexual Violence: A Guide for Professionals in the CommonwealthKASAP, 2008.


  • In the United States, 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men have experienced an “attempted or completed rape” as a child and/or adult (using a definition of rape that includes forced vaginal, oral, and anal sex).1
  • In Kentucky, 1 in 9 adult women has been “forcibly raped” at sometime in her life, which totals more than 175,000 women.2 This estimate does not include alcohol or drug-facilitated rape, attempted rape, ‘statutory rape’ (i.e., sex with someone under age 16 without explicit force), or other forms of sexual violence.
  • Most offenders are male. Nearly all female victims (99.6%) and most male victims (85.2%) are raped by a man or men.1


Who sex offenders target.

  • 65% of sexual assault victims knew the offender, either as a ‘friend,’ acquaintance, intimate partner, or relative.3
  • Nearly 8% of women have been raped by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime.4
  • 88% of offenders are the same race as the victim.7 Offenders rarely cross racial lines.
  • Most rape victims are under 18 when first assaulted (54% of female and nearly 71% of males).1
  • People with developmental disabilities, physical disabilities, psychiatric disabilities, and those who are elderly are also frequently targeted.
  • Many offenders target people who are impaired by alcohol or drugs (20% of female victims and 38% of male victims). In most caes, about 66%, the perpetrator was also using a substance.1


How sex offenders operate.

  • Nearly 85% of female victims are raped in a private setting where no help is available.1
  • Nearly 6 out of 10 rapes occur in the victim’s home or at the home of a friend, neighbor, or relative.7
  • Approximately 40% are physically assaulted and/or fear that they or someone close will be killed or seriously harmed.1
  • Offenders have and/or use traditional weapons, such as guns and knives, in 7% of all rapes and other sexual assaults.3


Seeking help.

  • Most sexual violence is not reported to police. Approximately 70% of sexual assaults are never reported to the police.5
  • Most victims do no tseek medical treatment for their injuries. Only about 30% of sexual assault survivors are treated for injuries.5


The cost of sexual violence.

  • Rape is the costliest of crimes to its victims. Overall, victim costs are estimated at $127 billion per year. Taking into account short-term medical care, mental health services, lost productivity, and pain & suffering, the cost per sexual assault is estimated at $110,000.6
  • Societal costs include business losses through absenteeism and third-party liability; criminal justice responses, such as investigation, prosecution, incarceration, and registration; and non-monetary losses, such as fear and corresponding loss of quality of life.6


Long-term impacts of sexual violence.

  • Survivors are at greater risk for mental health problems than those who have never been sexually assaulted.
    • 31% of rape survivors experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).2
    • 30% experience major depression at some time in their lives.2
    • 33% experience serious suicidal thoughts at some time in their lives.2
  • Long-term physical impacts are frequently related to sexual violence such as sexually transmitted infections, unplanned pregnancy/child-birth, eating disorders, sleep disorders, and use of alcohol and/or other drugs.



  1. Tjaden & Thoennes, U.S. Dept. of Justice (US DOJ), Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Rape Victimization: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey (2006),
  2. Kilpatrick & Ruggiero, National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center, Rape in Kentucky: A Report to the Commonwealth(2003).
  3. Bureau of Justice Statistics, US DOJ, Criminal Victimization in the U.S., 2005 Statistical Tables, Table 27 (Dec. 2006),
  4. National Center for Injury Prevention & Control, Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the U.S. (2003),
  5. Rennison, US DOJ, Rape & Sexual Assault: Reporting to Police & Medical Attention, 1992-2000 (2002),
  6. Miller, Cohen & Wiersema, US DOJ, Victim Costs & Consequences: A New Look (1996),
  7. Greenfeld, USDOJ, Sex Offenses & Offenders: An Analysis of Data on Rape and Sexual Assault (1997),