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Wednesday, March 02, 2011

New Study on Women

The Obama administration just released a new report on the status of women in the U.S. - you can find it here (pdf). While I intend to disgorge a lot of thoughts in the near future about the recent spate of republican attacks on women, this report has some (generally) encouraging news:

The rate of rape against females age 12 or older, as defined by the National Crime Victimization Survey, declined by about 60 percent, from 3.2 per 1,000 females in 1993 to 1.3 per 1,000 in 2000. Since 2000, the rape rate has remained at these lower levels. pg 58

This is a good thing! Lower rates of rape are great! It would be better if the downward trend were continuing, but this is certainly good-ish news. Of course, we know that rape is drastically under-reported, and seeing that the rate of REPORTED rape is going down doesn't mean that the number of actual rapes is going down - it could mean that we're actually throwing up additional barriers to survivors who need to report. I don't think that's what this number shows, though. I do think rape rates have actually fallen in the past 17 years,with the majority of that work happening in the '90s. It also has some news that, while not encouraging per se, at least indicate that the White House understands how rape happens, factually:

The majority of rapes and sexual assaults were committed by someone known to the victim. In 2008, 63 percent were committed by acquaintances, including 18 percent that were committed by an intimate partner.

While this certainly isn't a good thing, it is positive that government has a clear(er) sense of how rape actually happens. The more real-world data we have, the better policies we can make to combat rape. And of course, there's still the depressing news:

In the five-year period 2004–2008, according to the National Crime Victimization Survey, 54 percent of females who reported having been raped said that the police were not notified.

It doesn't give us any indication of what percentage of male or non-gender conforming folks reported. I imagine less. The report is cool for a lot of other things, though - education, wealth disparity, crimes committed, etc. Check it out if you have a moment.

Posted by Dave on 03/02 at 11:40 AM


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