Monday, December 22, 2014

Sexual Assault: 'Women at the Edges' Most Vulnerable

"Women at the margins are the ones who bear the brunt of the harshest realities, including sexual violence, and they do so with the least resources."

The heavy emphasis of late has been on sexual assault on college campuses, but that emphasis may be misplaced. The previous quote is from a study at American University by Callie Rennison and Lynn Addington on the vulnerability of women in our society to sexual assault. It is, of course, the poor and uneducated who are most frequently the victims.

Consider these study findings:
  • College students between 18 and 24 years old are raped at a rate of 6.1 per 1,000, while other women are at 8 per 1,000, 30 percent higher.
  • Poor women are victims of sex crimes at a rate that is 3.7 percent higher than middle income women and a jaw-dropping six times that of high income women.
  • Women in rental housing are assaulted at a rate of 3.2 times that of women in homes they own.
  • Single women with children have the highest rate of sexual assault, nine times that of married women with no children, 3.6 times that of married women with children and 3.2 times the rate of single women with no children.
  • Women without a high school diploma are sexually assaulted at four times the rate of women with a bachelor's degree.
Rennison, writing in the New York Times (here), notes, "The one risk factor that remains consistent whether women are advantaged or disadvantaged is age, and women ages 16 to 20 are sexually victimized at the highest rates."

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