25 Facts About Rape in America

  1. The FBI’s definition of “forcible rape” in their Uniform Crime Report (UCR): “The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.” [PDF]
  2. What that definition leaves out: anal, oral and statutory rape; incest; rape with an object, finger or fist; rape of men
  3. Number of men raped in any year, according to the UCR: 0 [PDF]
  4. Estimated number of men actually raped each year, according to the Dept. of Justice: 93,000 [PDF]
  5. Number of women raped in 2007 under the UCR definition: 91,874
  6. Number of sexual assaults in 2007–which includes rapes the FBI leaves out–according to the National Crime Victimization Survey: 248,300
  7. Dept. of Justice estimate of how many women are actually raped each year: 300,000 [PDF]
  8. Number of arrests for rape in 2007 (UCR): 23,307
  9. Percentage of rapes that result in incarceration: 0.35 percent [PDF]
  10. Number of murders/manslaughters in 2007 (UCR): 17,157
  11. Number of arrests for murder/manslaughter in 2007 (UCR): 13,480
  12. Percentage of murders that result in incarceration: 20 percent or more [PDF]
  13. Average number of rapes to every murder committed annually: 5 to 1
  14. Two of the top five cities in the U.S. with the most “unfounded” (i.e., false or baseless reports, according to police) rapes: New Orleans and Baltimore
  15. Percentage of rape reports deemed “unfounded” by New Orleans police in 2008: 60 percent
  16. Percentage of rape reports deemed “unfounded” by Baltimore police in 2009: 32 percent
  17. Percentage of actual estimated false rape reports in any given year according to research studies: 2-8 percent
  18. Percentage of rape reports deemed “unfounded” by the FBI in 2006: 5 percent
  19. How Baltimore police once explained their “unfounded” rape rate: “One of the things we know is that victims do lie.”
  20. Percentage of rape reports deemed “unfounded” (i.e. falsely reported) by Philadelphia police in 1983: 52 percent
  21. The year Philadelphia was forced to clean up its rape reporting practices: 1999
  22. Percentage of rape reports deemed unfounded in Philadelphia in 2007: 10 percent
  23. What a Philadelphia police officer once called his city’s sex crimes unit: “The lying bitches unit.”
  24. “Reasons” women lie about rape, according to Philadelphia’s police department in 1984: revenge; free abortion; covering up truancy, pregnancy, infidelity, lost money, sexual precocity.
  25. Number of people who have signed a letter urging the FBI to change its definition of rape: 2,019 (and counting)

For more on rape in America, pick up the new issue of Ms. on newsstands now, or subscribe today to get Ms. delivered straight to your mailbox. Then head over to our No More Excuses! campaign headquarters to sign a letter urging FBI Director Robert Mueller and Attorney General Eric Holder to change the definition of rape.


  1. Gail Lakritz says:

    I have many thoughts on this subject. Here are a few>

    Too many police officers and judges do not take rape seriously. These mostly men were boys once themselves. Women police and judges are no better. They have to play harder at being a man to gain the approval of the old boy who supervises them.

    Most perpetrators will not ask for a jury trial because they know they have a better chance of walking without one. Judges are still very biased, regardless of what they state publicly.

    The laws preventing the revealing of a victim of rape are a double edged sword the defense lawyer loves. I decriminalizes the act by making the victim invisible. A faceless, nameless victim is no victim in the mind of the public. Judges also applaud this law. It gives them the excuse to sentence a convicted rapist to hours or a week in jail, as happens in the courts in Southwest Virginia all the time.

    For too long, defense lawyers have been using the victim is the criminal and the criminal is the victim. It happens in rape and it happens in domestic violence. To discredit a witness is one thing, to lay blame for the crime on the victim is very much a different situation. These types of defenses must be banned and the public must be educated to their banning for a dirty lawyer will still use them in courtrooms, such as those in Virginia, and a judge will not stop them.

    • To many women are being raped by the police

    • the Justice Department came up with a new number: 216,000. That’s 216,000 victims, not instances. These victims are often assaulted multiple times over the course of the year. The Justice Department now seems to be saying that prison rape accounted for the majority of all rapes committed in the US in 2008, likely making the United States the first country in the history of the world to count more rapes for men than for women.

  2. Theresa Bergen says:

    The very first “women’s” issue I ever worked on was rape. As part of our public information campaign our group held a public information night. The local precent sent the Community Relations Officer. During the Q & A an audience member asked the officer what the age range of victims was. I have never forgotten the answer… a six month old baby with gonarreha (sp?) of the throat and an 87 year old women who had been sodomized during a push-in robbery. If I understand the FBI’s definition of rape, neither was raped. This is just wrong. If law enforcement can not protect us, they should at least get the count correct.

  3. Rape is not about sex – but more about degrading a woman in some way. It’s not the act of rape that is so appalling but the continued abuse to follow – stalking, threatening behavior. It is revenge for whatever reason attacking a woman that is not to blame. Pity the man who uses this as a means to cope that he can’t live a life protecting, nuturing, providing for a woman or children. I think the worst thing a rapist must deal with is pity. They want either love or hatred – but pity is what they fear the most.

    • So you’re saying men can’t be raped, but are always the rapist.

    • schwarz says:

      Save your pity for those who would use victimhood as a means to avoid blame.

    • “Rape is not about sex – but more about degrading a woman in some way.”

      Riiight, so then how do you explain rape against men?

      • They are playing out what is called a “rape script”. This means that by raping another man, the perpetrator is emasculating, or putting this man in the feminine position, the position typically filled by a woman. The perpetrator is reinforcing the gender roles. It’s to reinforce dominance, power, and objectify and dehumanize the other.

        Rape can be about degrading a woman, but it can also be about robbing someone of agency, power, all of which are equated with masculinity in a patriarchal society.

        If we stop equating feminine with weak, then that disrupts the rape script.

  4. Ugh, what do you expect? America is fucked up enough as it is, and this just further proves how backwards that country is.

    “What that definition leaves out: anal, oral and statutory rape; incest; rape with an object, finger or fist; rape of men.”

    If none of that is rape then I’m Santa Claus, and if they can’t tell that that is, then you lot are screwed, oh wait, that’s already happened – it just wasn’t constituted as rape so it was passed over and voided.

  5. I just finished a Public Speaker’s Bureau Training at my local Rape Crisis Line where I volunteer. I was truly surprised at how many trainings we give to police officers, military personnel and nurses and doctors. I would have assumed that Domestic and Sexual Violence would be part of these professional’s training (especially the cops, cause, you know…crimes) but apparently that’s not the case. It’s astonishing how domestic and sexual violence is just plain IGNORED in our justice system, and our medical system. I never thought I would see the day when I, a Domestic Violence Advocate, would be giving a room of police officers training about a CRIME.

  6. You forgot rape causes like, coercion, threat, fudiciary duty, persons in a position of trust, etc.

    I am so tired of hearing how 60% or more of women lie about rape, simply because they can’t prove it or they are forced, threatened, intimidated to recant the report, because it would greatly effect their lives.

    I am so sick of men like Philip McGraw trying to ‘take charge’ of domestic violence issues,

    favoring the men and boys, as he obviously does,

    and obviously and blatantly and covertly abuses women and girls on his show.

    He took complete advantage of Oprah, showing up the next day on her show after she hired him in her meat trial, and still does.

    I can not believe she thinks he is all perfect in what he says and does, since he is wrong more than he is right.

    He is misogynist in many ways and examples.

    Why is he on the air, and why do people let him continue his violations of thinking, ethics and the law?

    Now we have Shariah ‘law’, and no one is doing enough about this either.

    Every anti female culture and religion, just sets us back continually as they come into our country, now with a sworn purpose of taking us over, and beheading anyone who doesn’t convert.

    then there is China.

    I am so exhausted. At least americans should be helping americans.

  7. Mike Metroulas says:

    “OWN IT”?

    Men should the own criminal behavior of others because the criminals are male? That’s seriously one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever read.

    • Akya Sanders says:

      No, she is saying that people should own that men are the ones that do most of the raping. It does not matter what job they work, any man can be a rapist given the right circumstances.

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