Last week on Talk Back With Dr. Val, we had an in depth discussion about an issue faced by women and men in many communities, across many cultures – date rape.

Date rape, which is also referred to as acquaintance rape, is a form of sexual assault in which one party is physically or psychologically intimidated and forced to participate in sexual acts against his or own will, or when non-consensual sexual activities have taken place due to an individual being incapacitated by drugs or alcohol.

Unfortunately, these types of sexual assaults are more common among among college students and women between the ages of 16 to 24 years of age. During the show, I revealed an alarming amount of statistics that were both shocking and inconceivable to the audience. Those statistics included:

  • Every 107 seconds a sexual assault occurs
  • 1 in 5 women have been raped in their lifetime
  • 68% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police
  • 44% of women have experienced some sort of sexual violence in their lifetime
  • 1.7% men victims of rape
  • 23.4 of men have been victims of sexual violence
  • 44% of victims are under the age of 18
  • 80% of sexual assault cases happening to women under 30
  • 46.7% of women knew the person who raped them

We also went on to discuss the number of rapes reported by survivors and the punishments received by offenders. Out of 100 rapes:

  • 32 cases are reported
  • 72 offenders are arrested
  • 3 offenders are prosecuted
  • 2 offenders receive felony convictions
  • 2 offenders spend some days in prison
  • The other 98 offenders walk free

Sadly, many offenders are able to walk free due to the underwhelming number of sexual crimes reported by date rape survivors. More often than not, a survivor’s connection to the offender has a significant effect on whether or not the incident will be reported. For many survivors, the offender is an intimate partner or former intimate partner or a friend/acquaintance.

A report by the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault unveiled that many survivors did not wish to report their sexual assaults due to:

  • Fear of reprisal
  • Belief that the police would not do anything to help
  • Belief that the police could not do anything to help
  • Did not want to get offender in trouble with law
  • Did not want family to know • Did not want others to know
  • Not enough proof
  • Fear of the justice system
  • Did not know how
  • Unsure about perpetrator’s intent

We as a community must to come together to support and encourage date rape survivors to share their stories and speak out against the crimes committed against them. There is help out there. You are not alone.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, contact National Sexual Assault Hotline  by calling 800.656.HOPE (4673). All calls are confidential.