Sexual assault is a serious problem

April 2024 · Forward in Hope

Nearly 1 in 5 women in the United States have experienced rape or attempted rape some time in their lives, and 1 in 67 American men have experienced the same. According to the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN), every 68 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted.

Here’s more from RAINN:

  • From 2009-2013, Child Protective Services agencies substantiated, or found strong evidence to indicate that 63,000 children a year were victims of sexual abuse.
  • A majority of child victims are 12-17. Of victims under the age of 18: 34 percent of victims of sexual assault and rape are under age 12, and 66 percent of victims of sexual assault and rape are age 12-17.
  • One in 9 girls and 1 in 20 boys under the age of 18 experience sexual abuse or assault.
  • 82 percent of all victims under 18 are female.
  • Females ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.

What’s more …

The effects of child sexual abuse can be long-lasting and affect the victim’s mental health. Victims are more likely than non-victims to experience the following mental health challenges:

  • About 4 times more likely to develop symptoms of drug abuse
  • About 4 times more likely to experience PTSD as adults
  • About 3 times more likely to experience a major depressive episode as adults


Statistics like these illustrate just how important something like National Sexual Assault Awareness Month is to the protection of children, the reason Saint Francis Ministries exists. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, “Sexual violence occurs when someone is forced or manipulated into unwanted sexual activity without their consent.

  • Consent means permission for something to happen or agreement to do something.
  • Reasons someone might not consent to sexual activity include fear, age, illness, disability, and/or influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Anyone can experience sexual violence, including children, teens, adults, and seniors.
  • Those who sexually abuse can be acquaintances, family, trusted individuals, or strangers; of these, the first three are most common.”

As you might guess, sexual assault wreaks havoc and trauma on children and families.

April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a time to learn as much as we can about sexual violence, along with ways to protect children who experience it, either as direct victims or as witnesses. Visit the NSVRC at to learn how to build connected communities.

And if you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, RAINN maintains a 24/7 national hotline at 1.800.656.HOPE (4673).

Is there room in your life to join us in raising awareness? Is there room to help protect children?