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The facts behind rape and sexual assault

Thursday, August 23, 2012 | 8:10 p.m. CDT; updated 12:05 p.m. CST, Thursday, March 7, 2013

The national Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network reports these nationwide statistics:

  • In the U.S., someone is sexually assaulted every two minutes.
  • There are 207,754 victims over the age of 12 who are sexually assaulted every year.
  • 44 percent of attempted rape or rape victims are under the age of 18.
  • 80 percent of attempted rape or rape victims are under the age of 30.
  • 97 percent of rapists never spend a day in jail.

RAINN also provides this information about victims of rape or attempted rape:

  • 1 out of every six American women has been the victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime.
  • 17.7 million American women have been victims of rape or attempted rape.
  • In 2003, nine out of 10 rape victims were women.
  • About 3 percent of American men have been the victims of rape or attempted rape.
  • 15 percent of sexual assault or rape victims are children under age 12.
  • In 2004-2005, 64,080 women were raped.
    • The probability of becoming pregnant after one-time unprotected sexual intercourse is 5 percent, according to medical reports. RAINN estimates 3,204 pregnancies as a result of rape, according to this pregnancy rate.

Missouri statistics

In 2009, 1,615 "forcible rape" reports were documented by the Missouri State Highway Patrol's Crime In Missouri report. In 2011, the Missouri Uniform Crime Reporting Program listed 1,464 cases of forcible rape and attempted rape. So far this year, the program has reported 800 cases of forcible and attempted rape.

Missouri law includes these definitions of rape:

  • Forcible rape is sexual intercourse by “forcible compulsion.” This may include drugs, intimidation and physical restraint. Punishment for the crime includes at least five years in prison.
    • If the victim suffers serious injury, a deadly/dangerous weapon is displayed or the victim is forced to have intercourse with more than one person, the offense is punishable by a minimum of 15 years.
    • If the victim is a child younger than 12, there's a minimum of a lifetime sentence with parole eligibility after 30 years.
    • If the victim is a child younger than 12 and the crime involved mental or physical torture, minimum is life without parole.
  • Statutory rape in the first degree is committed when a person has sexual intercourse with another person who is less than 14 years old.
  • Statutory rape in the second degree is when someone 21 years old or older has sexual intercourse with someone younger than 17.
  • The crime is charged as sodomy, instead of rape, if the act is deviate sexual intercourse instead of regular sexual intercourse. Deviate sexual intercourse is an action done for the purpose of “arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of any person” or to terrorize the victim.

Federal definition changes

  • In January 2012, the FBI changed its definition of rape. The original definition, which dates to 1927,  did not include men, oral or anal sex, sodomy or penetration by objects.
  • The new definition also includes inebriated victims. Before the change, the FBI's definition of rape only accounted for victims who could clearly show or state their disinterest. Physical resistance, under the new definition, is no longer required to establish lack of consent.

The Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center in the MU Student Center provides resources for students who have been affected by sexual violence.


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