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Long-term study on rape, sex assaults reveals surprising statistics

Study tracked assaults on women 18-24 between 1995-2013

SAN ANTONIO – Women between the ages of 18 and 24 are more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than any other age group, according to a new study released Thursday by the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

The study, which tracked sexual assaults on college-age women for nearly 20 years, reveals some surprising statistics about those crimes.

Kelsey Banton, director of education and training at the Rape Crisis Center, says the study backs up much of what her organization has known for years.

"The report is really interesting and important just in terms of validating what we know and what we see happening," Banton said. "These numbers help validate the work that we do and validate the reasons why we have to continue to have these conversations."

The study tracked rapes and sex assaults on college-age women from 1995-2013.

It revealed women enrolled in college are slightly less likely to be victimized than non-students, who were 1.2 times more likely to be assaulted.

The study also showed both groups knew their attacker in 80 percent of the cases.

"There's a lot of predatory actions happening on campus and off campus in a way in which this age group just tends to be targeted for that very, very predatory act," Banton said.

One of the more surprising statistics in the report is that 67 percent of rapes and sex assaults on non-students go unreported to police, but on college campuses, that number jumps to 80 percent.

Banton said much of that is driven by fear.

"Just because sometimes college students not knowing which avenue to go through, who to report to or if something's going to happening to the perpetrator with the fear that nothing will happen to the perpetrator if they come forward," Banton said.

The Rape Crisis Center is working closely with local colleges to increase education in the hopes of bringing those numbers down.

"The partnerships that we have with them and reaching out to each other has been really helpful just in terms of thinking about what are the ways in which as a  community everyone is involved and and everyone has a stake in this issue," Banton said. "It's not something that's going to be solved in the next year or two. You're talking about having to shift attitudes and beliefs and when you're talking about rape culture you're talking about having to shift unhealthy sexuality and gender norms and that takes a long time to do."


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