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Every 90 seconds, somewhere in America, someone is sexually assaulted.

How'd we come up with that stat? Here's the math.

There are 525,600 minutes in a (non-leap) year (60x24x365). That makes 31,536,000 seconds per year. According to the US Department of Justice's National Crime Victimization Survey, there were a total of 383,000 sexual assaults in 1999 (the most recent data available).

So, 31,536,000 divided by 383,000 comes out to one sexual assault every 90 seconds.

Well, actually, it comes out to one every 82 seconds. But we rounded that down to one every 90 seconds because we like to be conservative with statistics (a nice change from all those interest groups that like to inflate statistics, don't you think?). We also wanted to reflect the fact that NCVS figures are inexact.

One more thing we should point out: Notice that we said one "sexual assault," not one "rape." What's the difference? Sexual assault is a broader category that the Justice Department uses to classify rape, attempted rape, and other violent felonies that fall short of rape (which it defines as "forced vaginal, anal or oral penetration").

Of the estimated 383,000 violent sex crimes in 1999, 141,000 were completed rapes. So, if you want a figure that covers only rape and excludes attempted rape and sexual assault, divide 31,536,000 by 141,000. That comes out to one rape every 224 seconds or so, or one rape every four minutes to play it safe.

Provided by RAINN. RAINN calculation based on USDOJ NCVS data.


The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network is the nation's largest anti-sexual assault organization. With a national perspective and broad reach, RAINN is a trusted resource for media, policymakers and the public. Additionally, RAINN operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1.800.656.HOPE. Comprised of more than 1,000 local affiliates, the hotline has helped more than half a million victims of sexual assault since 1994. For more information, please visit the RAINN website at www.rainn.org

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