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You do. You know someone who was raped, or assaulted. You know someone who was sexually abused as a child, perhaps multiple times or by multiple assailants. You likely know several folks, including perhaps a man who is a survivor.

These are the facts (includes sources).

[this block quote is edited to use "survivor" or "survived"] 1 out of every 6 American women has survived an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8% completed rape; 2.8% attempted rape).

17.7 million American women have survived attempted or completed rape.

9 of every 10 rape survivors were female in 2003.

Lifetime rate of rape /attempted rape for women by race:

  • All women: 17.6%
  • White women: 17.7%
  • Black women: 18.8%
  • Asian Pacific Islander women: 6.8%
  • American Indian/Alaskan women: 34.1%
  • Mixed race women: 24.4%


About 3% of American men — or 1 in 33 — have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.

In 2003, 1 in every ten rape survivors were male.
2.78 million men in the U.S. have been survivors of sexual assault or rape.

  • 15% of sexual assault and rape survivors are under age 12.
  • 29% are age 12-17.
  • 44% are under age 18.
  • 80% are under age 30.

    12-34 are the highest risk years.
    Girls ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be survivors of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.

So unless you have a very circumscribed circle of friends and acquaintances, you know one or more survivors. You may know who some of them are. You may be one.

If you are fortunate enough not to be a survivor, please stop and think. One woman in seven that you interact with is living with this, is working out ways to regain a good life. The burden of survivorship is substantial. Sexual assault is responsible for a significant fraction of the psychiatric burden of the country. Take a look at the elevated risks:

Survivors of sexual assault are:
  • 3 times more likely to suffer from depression.
  • 6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol.
  • 26 times more likely to abuse drugs.
  • 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.
What difference should that make? I will leave to others discussions of whether there is a rape culture in America and how to overcome it if there is. For now, I ask only one thing of you:

Remember that everything you write here will be read by a survivor of sexual abuse. Every diary, every sentence, every word. Please don't thoughtlessly increase the burdens on her or him.

Take the poll.

Originally posted to Wee Thoughts on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 02:23 PM PST.

Also republished by House of LIGHTS.


There are a lot of survivors of sexual abuse. I am

7%11 votes
14%22 votes
13%21 votes
34%54 votes
1%2 votes
8%13 votes
9%15 votes
3%5 votes
5%8 votes
1%2 votes
1%3 votes

| 156 votes | Vote | Results

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