Sexual assault has been a hot topic as of late. Government officials, Hollywood directors, NFL owners and others in a position of power have been in the news for sexually assaulting or harassing fellow colleagues, friends, or acquaintances. However, sexual assault is not a crime only committed by those in a position of power, it is a crime that is committed throughout the country and particularly in the state of Florida. An article published by the Orlando Sentinel in 2016 highlighted some alarming figures that showed that there has been an increase in sexual assault cases in the state of Florida. The article stated that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement saw a 6.1 percent increase in rape cases over the year. The spike in rape cases was in a year that Florida saw a decrease in the rate of overall crime.
Sexual Assault Statistics
In 2010, the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence released the results of a survey they conducted, the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. For the purpose of this survey, rape is defined as “completed forced penetration, attempted forced penetration, or alcohol/drug facilitated forced penetration.” The survey stated that 1 in 6 women in Florida have been raped in the past and over 40 percent of women that live in Florida are a victim of a sexual violence crime other than rape. Out of these women, 79.6 percent experienced their “first rape” before the age of 25 and 42.2 percent of women were under the age of 18.
Sexual Violence is not a crime that only affects women. About 20 percent of male Floridians have experienced sexual violence in their life. More than a quarter of them responded that they experienced their “first rape” at or before the age of 10 years old.
Sexual Assault At Colleges in Florida
Florida is a state that is packed with over 140 colleges. One college, in particular, University of Florida, conducted an anonymous survey. The goal of the survey was to find out how prevalent sexual assault is at the college. The study came back with some alarming results:
- 1 in 5 female undergraduate students experienced sexual assault (ranges from sexual touching to unwanted penetration)
- 17.6% 17.6% of non-heterosexual students reported non-consensual penetration or touching
- 10% of heterosexual students reported the same
- 70% reported that the harasser was a friend or acquaintance
- 92% said that the harasser was another student
The survey went on to question the female students if they had experienced sexual assault, why they hadn’t reported it. The results were:
- 58% reported they did not think it was serious enough
- 23% did not think anything would be done about it
- 18% reported that they did not think the information reported would be kept confidential
- 27% of participants said they felt ashamed and embarrassed about what happened
Finally, the survey ended with questions about the trust of University of Florida officials to protect the students that have reported a sexual assault or sexual misconduct instance. Two-thirds of survey participants responded that they believe a sexual assault case would be taken seriously by US officials. 60 percent responded that it was “very or extremely likely that the safety of those reporting incidents of sexual assault and sexual misconduct would be protected by university officials.”
If you are a resident of Florida and have been accused of sexual assault, harassment, or violence you should reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. The experienced team of sexual assault defense lawyers at Pinellas Criminal Law are prepared and capable to defend you. Contact us today if you have been accused of sexual assault.