Reported Rapes at Lowest Since 1989

What Women Really Think
Oct. 7 2009 1:22 PM

Reported Rapes at Lowest Since 1989

According to the FBI, reported rapes are at a 20-year low. 89,000 women reported being raped in 2008, down from a high of 109,062 in 1992. While the data is not available yet for 2009, this is a pretty hefty drop. The USA Today article about these new findings attributes the drop to the use of DNA to catch rapists, who are often repeat offenders, and also to anti-rape public awareness campaigns in the '70s and '80s.

The article does not touch on whether the ratio of actual rapes to reported rapes has remained steady for the past 20 years, and according to this Washington Post article , the percentage of unreported rapes dropped from 69 percent in 1996 to 61 percent in 2006. All of this is positive movement forward, but as Scott Berkowitz, president of the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network tells U SA Today , "We need to encourage more victims to report to police and guarantee that when they do report, the case is properly investigated."


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Jessica Grose is a frequent Slate contributor and the author of the novel Sad Desk Salad. Follow her on Twitter.


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