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There are around 463,634 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year in the United States. One in five women has experienced completed or attempted rape at some time in their life. Men also suffer from sexual abuse but not at the same rate as women and girls. According to the Department of Justice in 2014, 34% of cases are reported. That means that the majority of cases are not.

Sexual violence, rape, and abuse cause long-term mental health problems. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, when a child less than 18 years old is a victim, it is child sex abuse.

Sexual trafficking is also a problem. It involves the use of force or coercion to make an adult participate in commercial sex acts. It involves a buyer, a trafficker (pimp), and a victim of any race or sex. According to the Department of Justice, The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 and its subsequent reauthorizations define human trafficking as:

a) Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or

b) The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery. (22 U.S.C. § 7102(9)).

Other articles in this series will explain more about this problem. It’s large and growing.


Sexual Assault Awareness Month: Community Specific Facts and Statistics, DC Coalition to End Sexual Violence

RAINN Organization: National Sexual Abuse Hotline

800-656-HOPE (4673)

Department of Justice – Sexual Assault

National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC)

What’s the difference between sexual abuse, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and rape? – The Conversation

Sexual Abuse – Psychology Today

Child Sexual Abuse – American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology

Sexual Abuse and Assault Against Women, WebMD


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