7 Sexual Harassment Facts

Daisy Rogozinsky
January 15, 2023

Sexual harassment and assault are serious public health and safety problems around the world affecting the health and well-being of people of all genders and ages. In this article, we review some important facts about sexual harassment, rape, and assault, including their definitions, how common they are, and the impact they have on victims. 

1. Sexual harassment is a form of workplace sex discrimination defined under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The legal definition of sexual harassment, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), is that “Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when:

  • Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment;
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual; or
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance by creating an intimidating hostile or sexually offensive work environment.”

In sexual harassment, both the victim and the harasser can be of any gender, and the victim does not have to be of the opposite sex. The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, a co-worker, an employee in another office, a client, or a customer. 

Sexual harassment in education is addressed under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

2. Rape and sexual assault are defined under 10 U.S. Code § 920 - Art. 120.

According to this law, rape is committing a sexual act upon another person by doing any of the following:

  • Using unlawful force
  • Using force causing or likely to cause death or grievous bodily harm 
  • Threatening death, harm, or kidnapping
  • First rendering the victim unconscious
  • Administering by force or threat of force, or without the knowledge or consent of that person, a drug or intoxicant that impairs their ability to appraise or control conduct

Sexual assault is defined as committing a sexual act upon another person by doing any of the following:

  • Threatening the victim
  • Making the victim believe that the sexual act serves a professional purpose
  • Pretending to be another person 

Sexual acts under any of the following conditions are also considered sexual assault:

  • Without the victim’s consent
  • When the victim is asleep or unconscious
  • When the victim cannot consent because they are under the influence
  • When the victim cannot consent because of a disability or mental impairment 

3. Every 73 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. 

In the United States, sexual assault is a common crime taking place nearly every minute. 

4. Over half of women and almost 1 in 3 men have experienced sexual violence involving physical contact during their lifetimes 

Additionally, 1 in 4 women and about 1 in 26 men have experienced completed or attempted rape. About 1 in 9 men were made to penetrate someone during his lifetime. And 1 in 3 women and about 1 in 9 men experienced sexual harassment in a public place.

5. Minors are often victims of sexual violence

Almost half of female rape survivors were first raped before age 18. About 4 in 10 male rape survivors were first made to penetrate as a minor. 

6. More than 2 out of 3 sexual assaults go unreported

Only 310 out of every 1,000 sexual assaults are reported to the police. 

Survivors who do report sexual assaults list the following reasons for doing so:

  • To protect the household or victim from further crimes by the offender
  • To stop the incident or prevent recurrence or escalation
  • To improve police surveillance
  • A belief that they had a duty to do so
  • To catch, punish, or prevent the offender from reoffending
  • To get help or recover loss

Survivors list the following reasons for not reporting a sexual assault:

  • Fear of retaliation
  • A belief that the police would not or could not do anything to help
  • A belief that it was a personal matter
  • A belief that it was not important enough to report
  • Not wanting to get the perpetrator in trouble

7. Sexual violence is costly to victims both financially and emotionally

The lifetime cost of rape is $122,461 per survivor, including medical costs, lost productivity, criminal justice activities, and other costs. Additionally, 81% of women and 35% of men report significant short-term or long-term impacts such as post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Legal recourse for survivors

If you are a survivor of sexual assault, harassment, or rape, it is likely that you have paid a terrible cost as a result of the crime you experienced. To this end, it is important that you know of the possibility of filing a civil lawsuit in order to pursue compensation and justice. You may be able to recover a variety of damages including:

  • Depression
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Psychological harm or trauma
  • Travel and relocation costs
  • Healthcare costs, including emergency care, a sexual assault forensic exam, and medications
  • Mental health care, such as therapy and counseling costs
  • Lost wages 
  • Property damage
  • Decreased quality or enjoyment of life
  • Emotional distress
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Legal fees 
  • Stress, fear, or anxiety

To receive a case review and learn about your options, contact an experienced sexual assault lawyer.

Featured Sexual Assault Lawyers

The Hawk Firm

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38 years in practice
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Andrus Law Firm, LLC

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Employment Law, Medical Malpractice, Personal Injury, Sexual Assault, Wrongful Death
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Jackman Law

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9 years in practice
Auto Accidents, Medical Malpractice, Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect, Personal Injury, Sexual Assault
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