These statistics are provided to assist survivors, advocates, and researchers in accessing recent data around gender-based violence. Links are provided to the cited studies themselves, where they are publicly available, or to resources that provide citations for the relevant statistics.
Approximately 19% of women will be sexually assaulted during their time at college. (Study published in 2007)
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s campus climate survey (which measures prevalence of and attitudes toward gender-based violence) found that 17% of female students had been assaulted while enrolled. (2014)
90% of campus sexual assaults are committed by perpetrators that the survivor knows. (2000)
84% of female survivors report being sexually assaulted during their first four semesters on campus. (2007)
The majority of undetected college rapists are likely serial perpetrators, committing an average of 6 rapes each. (2002)
13% of women report being stalked during their time in college.
80% of survivors of stalking know the person who victimized them. (2000)
43% of dating college women report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors including physical, sexual, technology-facilitated, verbal or other forms of controlling abuse. (2011)
More than 57% of college students who report experiencing dating violence report experiencing it while in college. (2011)
Only 12% of college student survivors report the assault to police. Notably, only 7% of survivors of incapacitated sexual assault report to the police. Survivors cite a number of reasons for not reporting: not wanting others to know; lack of proof; fear of retaliation; being unsure of whether what happened constitutes assault; did not know how to report; and fear of being treated poorly by the criminal justice system. (2007)
Only 2-10% of rapes are false reports, a rate that does not exceed the false reporting rates of other crimes. (2010)
Criminal Justice System Responses
For every 100 rapes committed, approximately two rapists will ever serve a day in prison. (2012)
A plurality of law enforcement officers believe rape myths, which refer to the stereotypical and empirically incorrect beliefs that an individual holds concerning rape, rapists, and the victims of rape. Some examples of rape myths include: only bad girls get raped, ‘‘women ask for it,” and women “cry rape” only when they‘ve been jilted or have something to cover up. (2008)
Approximately 50% of all assaults that result in a police investigation are prosecuted. Prosecutors were more inclined to prosecute if the suspect had a criminal record; if there was physical evidence; and if there were no questions about the survivor’s character/behavior during the assault. (2004)
Although there is little national data on this topic, an estimated 400,000 rape kits have not been tested. (2015)
Health Effects of Violence
34% of college student survivors have experienced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as opposed to 9% of non-survivors. (2007)
33% of college student survivors have experienced depression as opposed to 11% of non-survivors. (2007)
Drug or alcohol abuse (often used by survivors to self-medicate) was reported by 40% of college student survivors as opposed to 17% of non-survivors. (2007)
There are few student survivor-specific estimates of the costs of violence. The White House noted that for rape survivors, studies found that costs ranged from $87,000 to $240,776 per rape. These costs include medical treatment, counseling, and harder to quantify impacts on quality of life. (2014)
For student survivors, costs can also include tutoring, lost tuition, and accrued student loan interest if they take a leave of absence.
Identity and Marginalization
There are significant gaps in the research surrounding the prevalence of violence perpetrated against students who identify as LGBTQ, people of color, disabled, and undocumented even though Title IX’s protections against discrimination apply to all students. We have provided data for non-student survivors in order to provide insights into the elevated violence these groups face.
Gay and bisexual men are over ten times more likely to experience sexual assault than heterosexual men. (2005)
25% of transgender people have been assaulted after the age of 13. (2012)
People of Color
Many national studies have failed to measure levels of violence among Asian America/Pacific Islander communities, citing overly small sample sizes.
A 2000 Department of Justice report found that 7% of Asian American women had experienced rape, a number that almost certainly skews low due to the fact that Asian American women are the least likely to report rape and physical assault of any racial or ethnic group. (1998)
A more recent report on domestic violence estimates that 21–55% of Asian women report experiencing intimate physical and/or sexual violence during their lifetime. (2015)
People with Disabilities
Individuals who identify as disabled are three times more likely to experience sexual violence than persons who do not identify as disabled. Individuals who have multiple disabilities experience even higher rates of violence. (2014)
There are very few studies that specifically measure violence perpetrated against undocumented immigrants. Even so, it is clear that undocumented immigrants are less likely to report violence against them for fear of deportation. (1997)
A Concluding Note
Please note that comparing between studies may be unwise as many do not use the same methodology in measuring violence. Much of this field has been understudied, especially when it comes to violence perpetrated against members of historically marginalized groups. Despite this, we hope this resource offers a useful overview of what we know about gender-based violence and some numbers to communicate powerfully about the need to address sexual violence on campuses across the United States.
Have other statistics to add to the list? Interested in other areas? Let us know and email firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Alyssa Peterson & Ivy Yan