As SAFE International™ Self Defense begins a new school year of teaching self defense to 1000s of teens, I thought it would be valuable to revisit the Sexual Assault Statistics in Canada. These statistics come directly from the site SexualAssault.ca and mirror the statistics I have found in many studies. While many will argue that statistics can never be 100% accurate, they can give us a general idea how serious and issue sexual assault always has, and always will be.
We at SAFE International™ have been teaching self defense for 23 years and an observation I have noticed is that many self defense instructors avoid discussing with our youth the fact that the vast majority of the time, the perpetrator of sexual assault will be someone known to the victim which in turn is a big reason why the number that are reported is so so low. Under the fear of harm, not being believed or how so few sexual assaults ever make to court, never mind how few actually get convicted, it is no wonder few want to report it. Many still believe that their attacker will be the guy lurking in the bushes waiting for his victim, where the reality for most, the terror they are going to face is right in their home, or an acquaintance.
When we teach our program, share stories, or just chat with the teens, it is sadly far to common to see the body language of some of them change completely to a point where we see the victimization. Now sometimes they will come out to us privately, and many times they just keep it to themselves which is very difficult to see. For those who come out and share with us, we are not professionally educated to deal with the issue, but we can be the ones to get them started on a road to recovery by putting them in touch with appropriate contacts in the school. So while we know we can help some, we also know there are many more we can't help unless they feel comfortable enough to tell someone. We encourage those who are being victimized to tell someone and if they do not believe them, tell someone else and never stop till someone listens to them.
I ask you look at these statistics from SexualAssault.ca and I will make a few more comments after them.
Sexual Assault Statistics in Canada
A Numerical Representation of the Truth
- Of every 100 incidents of sexual assault, only 6 are reported to the police
- 1 - 2% of "date rape" sexual assaults are reported to the police
- 1 in 4 North American women will be sexually assaulted during their lifetime
- 11% of women have physical injury resulting for sexual assault
- Only 2 - 4% of all sexual assaults reported are false reports
- 60% of sexual abuse/assault victims are under the age of 17
- over 80% of sex crime victims are women
- 80% of sexual assault incidents occur in the home
- 17% of girls under 16 have experienced some form of incest
- 83% of disabled women will be sexual assaulted during their lifetime
- 15% of sexual assault victims are boys under 16
- half of all sexual offenders are married or in long term relationships
- 57% of aboriginal women have been sexually abused
- 1/5th of all sexual assaults involve a weapon of some sort
- 80% of assailants are friends and family of the victim
The above noted statistics have been taken from various studies across Canada.
A couple more of those statistics that really jump out at me are that the majority of the time the victim will be under the age of 17 which is a primary reason why SAFE International™ puts a focus on teaching in high schools. These kids are most often being victimized by those they are supposed to be able to trust so they often feel they have no one they can tell feeling all alone.
Another factor that often affects our children from coming forward is the fear of not being believed particularly if it is another family member. Sadly many of the adults they tell will want to keep it quiet to avoid their fear of embarrassment putting their own needs ahead of the safety of their children. Or they may make their own child feel guilty as if they somehow contributed to being assaulted. Nothing is more wrong or dangerous.
I even heard a story this Summer from a woman who told me of a young girl who had parents that told her if anyone ever touched her, she should tell them and they would kill anyone who did that. Well it was her Uncle and she did not tell anyone out of fear her parents would kill him and that it would be because of her. We often forget these are kids and you have to choose your wording carefully when dealing with kids. These parents may have meant well but they forgot how their daughter internalized their message.
In closing I just felt it important as we begin another year of teaching students to make people aware of the statistics and how important it is to educate our kids on the topic of personal safety.
Managing Director, SAFE International™