MYTH: ONLY ATTRACTIVE YOUNG WOMEN ARE VICTIMS OF RAPE.
FACT: Women of all ages are equally vulnerable to rape though the victimization rate increases
through the teenage years, crests around age 20 and steadily decreases through the
MYTH: PROFESSIONAL WOMEN AGES 25 TO 29 ARE MORE LIKELY TO BE
ASSAULTED THAN WOMEN AGES 18 TO 21.
FACT: Numbers of rapes and sexual assaults for individuals ages 18 to 21 were 2.5 times higher
than for individuals ages 25 to 29.1
MYTH: SEXUAL ASSAULT IS COMMITTED BY A STRANGER.
FACT: 80% of victims know the person who sexually assaults them. Females are more likely to be
raped in a private home (their own, that of a neighbor, friend or relative) than any other
MYTH: WOMEN WHO DRESS PROVOCATIVELY AND FREQUENTS BARS ARE MORE
TOBLAME FOR SEXUAL ASSAULTS THAN WOMEN WHO DRESS
FACT: Rape is a crime committed against a victim. The rapist is responsible for the assault not the
MYTH: CHILDREN WHO ARE SEXUALLY ASSAULTED ARE GENERALLY ATTACKED
BY A STRANGER.
FACT: More than half of all children who are sexually assaulted under the age of 12 are assaulted
by a relative.2
MYTH: SEXUAL ASSAULTS ONLY HAPPEN AT NIGHT.
FACT: Though sexual assaults occur at all hours of the day and night, they tend to occur most often
between noon and 6 p.m. in a private home.2
MYTH: MOST RAPES ARE REPORTED.
FACT: More than two-thirds of all rapes and sexual assaults measured by the National Crime
Victimization Survey (NCVS) remained unreported to law enforcement.2
MYTH: SEXUAL ASSAULT OCCURS ONLY IN LOWER SOCIOECONOMIC AREAS.
FACT: While sexual assault does occur in upper middle and lower socioeconomic areas it is more
prevalent on lower socioeconomic areas.3
MYTH: THE MAJORITY OF PERSONS CONVICTED OF RAPE ARE MEMBERS OF
FACT: Federal statistics show the characteristics of convicted persons categorized as rapists to be: 99
in 100 are males, 6 in 10 are Caucasian and the average age is the early 30s.4
MYTH: RAPISTS ARE RARELY CONVICTED AND SENTENCED TO PRISON.
FACT: Over two thirds of convicted rape defendants received a prison sentence.4
MYTH: MOST CONVICTED RAPISTS RECEIVE ONLY A JUDICIAL SLAP ON THE
FACT: For rape defendants sentenced to prison the average term imposed was just under 14 years.
2% of convicted rapists received life sentences.4
MYTH: A WOMAN IS RARELY RAPED AND VICTIMIZED MORE THAN ONCE.
FACT: 36% of the women raped reported being raped more than once.8
MYTH: WOMAN BELIEVE THAT PREVENTING RAPE IS COMPLETELY IN THEIR
FACT: One out of every eight adult woman has been a victim of forcible rape sometime her lifetime.8
MYTH: SINCE WOMAN’S LIBERATION WOMAN HAVE BEGUN TO REPORT SEXUAL
ASSAULT MORE FREQUENTLY.
FACT: Rape remains the most under-reported violent crime in America. Approximately 84% of rape victims do not report to the police.8
SEXUAL ASSAULT FACTS
FACT: Rape and sexual assault offenders account for just under 5% of the total correctional
population in the US.4
FACT: Sexual assault offenders were substantially more likely than any other category of
offender to report having experienced physical or sexual abuse while growing up.4
FACT: In a 5 year average Montgomery County rates 4th in the state for reported rapes coming
in after Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Prince George’s County.5
FACT: Arrests of juveniles accounted for 13% of all violent crimes cleared by arrest more
specifically 12% of forcible rapes.5
FACT: The State of Maryland Crime Index trends report that forcible rapes decreased by 9%
between January-September 1996 to January-September 1997. 6
FACT: The Washington Metropolitan Region Crime Index trends which include Montgomery
County - forcible rape increase 1.5% from January-September 1996 to January-
September 1997. 6
FACT: In 1996, males experienced significantly higher victimization rates than females for all
violent crimes except rape/sexual assault.7
FACT: 50% of rape victims surveyed stated they would be more likely to report rape to the
police if there was a law prohibiting the news media from disclosing their names and
FACT: 69% of women raped feel that it is somehow their fault. 8
FACT: 49% of all rape victims reported being fearful of serious injury or death during the
FACT: 42% of all agencies interviewed said that more than half of all their sexual assault
clients are unwilling to report rape to the police.8
FACT: 31% of all rape victims develop PTSD at sometime during their lifetime. Rape victims
are 6.2 times more likely to develop PTSD than women who have not been victims of
crime. (31% vs. 5%).8
FACT: Rape victims are 4.1 times more likely than non-crime victims to have contemplated
suicide. 13% of all rape victims actually attempt suicide.8
FACT: Rape victims are 5.3 times more likely to have 2 or more major alcohol related problems
(20.1% vs. 3.8%) and 3.7 times more likely to have 2 or more serious drug related
problems (7.8% vs. 2.1%).8
FACT: For most rape victims the age at which the first rape occurred was younger than the age
which they first became intoxicated or began using marijuana or cocaine.8
1 Perking, C.A., (1997). Age Patterns of Victims of Serious Violent Crime.
Bureau of Justice Statistics. Pg. 3. NCJ-162031
2 Craven, D., (1997). Sex Differences in Violent Victimization.1994.
Bureau of Justice Statistics. Pg. 2. NCJ-164508
3 Taylor, B.M. (1997). Changes in Criminal Victimization, 1994-95.
Bureau of justice Statistics – National Crime Victimization Survey. NCJ-162031
4 January 1997. Sex offenses and Offenders.
Bureau of Justice Statistics. NCJ-163931
5 Snyder 9, 1998. Uniform Crime Report. Preliminary Report: Juvenile Arrest.
6 January 9, 1998. Uniform Crime Report. Preliminary Report: January to September 1997.
7 November 19978. NCJ 165812.
8 Edmunds. C.N., Kilpatieck, D.G., & Seymour, A.K. (1992). Rape in America – A Report to the Nation.
Prepared by: National Victim Center & Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center.
Victim Assistance and Sexual Assault Program
1301 Piccard Drive, Suite 4100
Rockville, MD 20850
(240)777-1355 TTY (240) 777-1357