One of the key challenges about sexual assault statistics is that it’s nearly impossible to gather accurate and consistent data about incidence and prevalence.  This infographic doesn’t do a perfect job, but it combines data from several sources, both domestic and international.

Particularly with sexual violence, the shame and stigma associated with the issue is so significant that it’s hard to count what isn’t being reported.  Think about erectile dysfunction.  Ten years ago, it would have been impossible to know how many people were suffering from erectile dysfunction.  Now that there is a cure, a successful pathway to recovery, people are comfortable talking about it to their doctors and we have much more accurate figures.

The purpose of the illustration – and of The Enliven Project – is to provoke new kinds of conversations about sexual violence.  We hope that you have been inspired to have deeper conversations about sexual violence because of what you have seen and read here.

For those of you who have asked, here is the background on the stats we used:

  • Some reports suggest that only 5-25% of rapes are reported to authorities.  Other suggest that close to half are reported.  We assumed 10%, which is dramatic, but possible.
  • Of the rapes that are reported, approximately 9 are prosecuted.  
  • Of the prosecuted, 5 result in felony convictions.  This is across the board for all felony prosecutions, not just rape.
  • Assuming that 2% of reported rapes are false and a 10% reporting rate, the graphic assumes that 2 of 1000 rapes are falsely reported (assuming a rape can’t be falsely reported unless it’s reported in the first place)

If you have other stats you would like to share, please leave them in comments.  Thank you!