Statistics Show Drop In U.S. Rape Cases – Washington Post 6/19/06
“Overall, there has clearly been a decline over the last 10 to 20 years,” said Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women. “It’s very liberating for women, in terms of now being able to be more free and more safe.”
The U.S. Justice Department’s National Crime Victimization Survey (considered our best measure of crime because its anonymous surveys capture offenses not reported to police) reports that rape has been falling dramatically for decades. The first survey, in 1973, estimated that 105,000 females, ages 12 to 24, were raped that year. In the 1980s and early 1990s, the survey was expanded to include sexual assault and attempted or threatened offenses. Even so, the latest survey (in a young female population 1 million larger than in 1973) reported that 30,000 females, ages 12 to 24, were raped and 60,000 were victims of attempted rape or real or attempted sexual offenses (including verbal threats) in 2005.
The Startling Decline in Rape – Washington Monthly 6/3/11
This is an astounding decline, but I don’t know of any reason to doubt the accuracy of the numbers. The National Crime Victimization survey is conducted twice a year, with a sample size of 134,000. Rapes reported to the police have been shrinking more slowly than survey-reported rapes, and actually rose from 1979-1990, consistent with other data showing an increasing willingness of victims to report having been raped.