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What Do We Know About Victims?

  • Every person is a potential victim of rape or sexual assault. Reported victims rage in age from several months to 100 years. No age group is immune.

  • All persons, regardless of race or age..regardless of social or economic status....regardless of lifestyle...and regardless of gender...are potential victims of rapists.

  • The most vulnerable target is a solitary woman, especially at night or if she is impared by drugs, alcohol or medical situations.

  • Victims between 16 and 24 saw the highest incidence of attacks aaginst them, by both strangers and non-strangers. Overall, almost 80% of victims are under age 30.

  • Most often, the assailant is someone that the victim knows closely or casually, including friends, family members, teachers, coaches, co-workers.

  • Victim reaction to sexual assault varies widely. About 70% of victims take some kind of action, such as resisting, trying to appeal to the offender, running, screaming, or fighting back. About 30% take no protective action, often reporting afterwards that they felt that doing so would make things worse.

  • Victims of sexual crimes are physically injured to some extent in about 40% of cases; but victims report that the physical aspects pale in comparison to the emotional and mental anguish that develops AFTER the crime...in some cases not until weeks or months later, and for some, who might appear to recover quickly from the immediate attack, problems of rape-related PTSD, depression, severe sleep disturbances, and impacts on their interactions with others and their relationships can continue for decades after the event and throughout the victim's life.

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Last Updated: March 23, 2011