Violence Against Women

Goals

To understand statistics and data concerning violence against women in Washington DC, Virginia, and Maryland over the past five years, from 2015-2020. This should include data around how, when, and by whom women were attacked, whether they knew their attacker, what they'd been doing prior to being attacked, and how they were attacked/whether a weapon was used. As well, this should include recommendations and other information on ways that women can prevent themselves from being attacked while traveling, dating, working, or going to or from the gym.

Early Findings

OVERVIEW

  • Overall throughout the United States, "there are 433,648 victims...of rape and sexual assault each year".
  • The age group most at-risk for sexual violence are those between 18 and 34, a range which includes both Generations Y and Z. Specifically, 54 percent of all reported sexual violence cases were perpetrated against victims in this age range.
  • One in every six American women has been raped or sexually assaulted. In total, 82 percent of all juvenile rape victims are girls, while 90 percent of all adult rape victims are women.
  • "Females ages 16-19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault."
  • More specifically, Native American women are at the greatest risk of sexual assault and rape. "On average, American Indians ages 12 and older experience 5,900 sexual assaults per year," and are twice as likely as the general population to be raped or sexually assaulted.

WASHINGTON DC

Rape and Sexual Assault

  • In every year from 2009 to 2016, the rate of reported sexual attacks against women in the DC area increased, with the highest rate recorded as "347 in 2016, tripling the count of 114 in 2009".
  • The following year, the number of reported attacks began to decline, dropping by about 16 percent from 2016 to 2017.
  • However, from 2017 to 2018 the number rose again, with the FBI reporting that rape was "the only violent crime to increase in 2018 from 2017" in Washington DC, including "compiled numbers from the District, Northern Virginia, and the surrounding Maryland suburbs".
  • In 2015, the Washington DC police department "received 1,177 reports of adult sexual assault or crimes that had a sexual element to them". Of that number however, only 671 were classified by police "as misdemeanor or felony sexual assaults to be presented to prosecutors", and charges were only filed in 124 cases.
  • A study of reported vs. convicted rape crimes in DC showed that "the sexual assault cases that made it from the police’s desk onto a court docket were largely ones where the victim suffered physical injuries or where the alleged offender was a stranger to the victim—the types of cases that generally conform to stereotypes of what qualifies as “real” rape or sexual assault".
  • More specifically, DC prosecutors often declined "to file charges in cases where the victim was intoxicated or where consent was in dispute".
  • In the summer of 2018, 110 reported sexual assault cases "occurred on streets and public sidewalks...a 21 percent increase over the same period" in 2017.

Other Violence

  • "During their lifetime, 39 percent of women living D.C. have experienced sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking perpetrated by an intimate partner".
  • In Washington DC, 25 percent of women will be the victim of domestic violence in their lifetime.
  • On average, 3,851 assault cases are reported in Washington DC each year, compared to 6,613 violent crime cases and 445 rape cases.

MARYLAND

Rape and Sexual Assault

  • "In 2015 in Maryland, 1,758 rapes were reported."
  • At that time, the three counties which recorded the highest number of rapes were Baltimore City, Prince George’s, and Baltimore County.
  • "Maryland women have a high lifetime prevalence of sexual violence other than rape, totaling an estimated number of 1,773,000 women."
  • In total, about 420,000 women in Maryland have been raped in their lifetime, equivalent to just over 18 percent of the female population there. "However, an estimated 22.3 percent of non-Hispanic black women in Maryland have experienced rape in their lifetime, compared to 18 percent of white women".

Other Violence

VIRGINIA

Rape and Sexual Assault

  • "In 2016, there were 1,269 adult and juvenile arrests for sexual offenses including forcible rape, forcible sodomy, sexual assault with an object, forcible fondling, incest, and statutory rape. Of these arrests, fifteen percent were juvenile arrests."
  • Just over half of Virginia's rape and sexual assault victims were under the age of 18, and 33 percent "of the reported forcible sex offenses were committed against family members or intimate dating partners".
  • In 2017, 30 percent of sexual assault victims in Virginia were attacked by a family member, 41 percent by a non-family member who the victim knew, five percent by a stranger, and five percent by a dating partner. A further 15 percent reported the assailant as being unknown, while the remaining seven percent of cases went unreported.
  • Also in 2017, 70 percent of "forcible sex offenses" were reported as occurring in a residence or home. Other common locations were at school or college; on the highway, a road, or in an alley; in a hotel or motel; in a field or the woods; and in parking lots and garages.
  • In 2017, 29 percent of sexual assault and rape victims in Virginia reported that their assailant used a weapon against them, such as a gun or a knife.

Other Violence

  • In 22 percent of all domestic violence cases reported in Virginia during 2017, "the perpetrator used a weapon against the victim (including firearms)".

Proposed next steps:

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As our initial research was able to provide only some of the requested data and statistics, we would recommend continued research to look both at the DMV area and at the United States overall. The former will look at the DMV area as a whole, rather than at DC, Virginia, and Maryland separately. For both the DMV area and the United States, we will provide statistics on both rape/sexual assault and other physical violence statistics for both 2015 and 2019. This will include data on the total number of reported cases for both years, a breakdown of what percentage of those victims were women/girls, how often the assailant was known to the victim, how often a weapon was used, where the assault occurred (such as at home or in a public location), and - as available - what the victim was doing before they were attacked.
As well, we would recommend continued research to provide an overview of (1) ways that women can protect themselves from assault and sexual assault, including when they are traveling, dating, working, or on their way to/from the gym; and (2) preventative measures that can be taken by cities, states, or municipalities to help prevent assault and sexual assault from occurring. For each, this will include a list of 7-10 measures/actions that can be taken, with a description/explanation for each and, as available, quantitative supportive data.