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Sexual Abuse and Reasons for Not Reporting

Black and white photo of girl with long hair covering face with one hand
Photo by Emiliano Vittoriosi on Unsplash

While there are more than 463,000 cases of sexual assault in the U.S. every year, most of these cases go unreported. According to RAINN, more than two thirds of all sexual assault cases are not reported to the police.

Please note that every victim is in a different situation and experiences unique difficulties. However, there are some prevalent reasons for not reporting.

The following are a compilation of statistics from RAINN detailing the reasons for not reporting regarding victims from 2005–2010.

Among the many cited reasons, 20% of victims avoided reporting in fear of retaliation from their abuser. In addition, 13% believed that the police would not help resolve the situation.

These statistics show that sexual abuse victims often feel alone and helpless. Many abusers use tactics such as gaslighting and controlling behaviors to isolate the victim. This creates a major source of fear and helplessness, which often stands in the way of victims seeking help.

Another reason for not reporting is feeling the need to protect the perpetrator from being reported to the authorities. Many victims are unable to spot the signs of an abusive relationship, causing perpetrators to avoid legal consequences.

The largest group of victims who did not report either gave a different reason or provided multiple reasons. 30% of victims have multiple reasons to avoid reporting to the authorities, which shows that every situation of sexual and domestic abuse is unique.

Despite the many reasons for not reporting, there are significant resources for victims and survivors.



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