Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Can You Spot What's Missing?

I was just looking for some statistics on the RAINN website and I noticed that something was missing. They provide a lot of useful information including a breakdown of victims of sexual assault by gender and age, a list of effects of sexual assault on victims and society, the frequency with which assaults happen and with which they are reported and then the provide information about rapists.

Here is what they provide:

Approximately 2/3 of rapes were committed by someone known to the victim.
73% of sexual assaults were perpetrated by a non-stranger.
38% of rapists are a friend or acquaintance.
28% are an intimate.
7% are a relative.

He's not Hiding in the Bushes

More than 50% of all rape/sexual assault incidents were reported by victims to have occured within 1 mile of their home or at their home.

  • 4 in 10 take place at the victim's home.
  • 2 in 10 take place at the home of a friend, neighbor, or relative.
  • 1 in 12 take place in a parking garage.

43% of rapes occur between 6:00pm and midnight.

  • 24% occur between midnight and 6:00am.
  • The other 33% take place between 6:00am and 6:00pm.

The Criminal

  • The average age of a rapist is 31 years old.
  • 52% are white.
  • 22% of imprisoned rapists report that they are married.
  • Juveniles accounted for 16% of forcible rape arrestees in 1995 and 17% of those arrested for other sex offenses.
  • In 1 in 3 sexual assaults, the perpetrator was intoxicated — 30% with alcohol, 4% with drugs.
  • In 2001, 11% of rapes involved the use of a weapon — 3% used a gun, 6% used a knife, and 2 % used another form of weapon.
  • 84% of victims reported the use of physical force only.
Rapists are more likely to be a serial criminal than a serial rapist.

46% of rapists who were released from prison were re-arrested within 3 years of their release for another crime.

  • 18.6% for a violent offense.
  • 14.8% for a property offense.
  • 11.2% for a drug offense.
  • 20.5% for a public-order offense.

They do say "he is not hiding in the bushes" but that is the ONLY reference they make to gender. They were very interested in gender when it came to victims but that information is strikingly absent when it came time to discuss perpetrators. They mention the age of perpetrators, the race and even the marital status but not the gender!

I came to the site looking for information on how how often women commit rape to compare to how often men commit rape. That information cannot be found. If someone else has that information (or can find it elsewhere on this site) please do let me know.

I do not wish to castigate RAINN, I think they do amazing, necessary work. I just wonder why they left that rather important, even crucial, detail out? I believe that they assume that we will assume that the perpetrator is a man. It is such a commonly understood fact that men rape and women are raped that it goes without saying on one of the best resources for victims and researchers alike. So entrenched are we in rape culture that we do not even need to be told that men are the most likely offenders even on a website dedicated to providing statistics about those very crimes. But beyond that, it misses an important opportunity to highlight assaults committed by non-typical offenders like women against women and women against men and in so doing, erases the experiences of those victims.

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