Poll finds nearly half of U.S. women say they've been sexually assaulted

47 percent of American women say they have been sexually assaulted, poll finds

By Troy Blevins - Online Editor
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A Quinnipiac University national poll released Wednesday found that almost half of American women say they have been sexually assaulted.

The poll asked a random sample of 1,747 American adults, "Have you ever been sexually assaulted, meaning someone touched you in an inappropriate, sexual manner without your consent, or not?"

Among all adults, 32 percent said they were assaulted, including 17 percent of men and 47 percent of women, according to the poll.

The pattern is consistent across all age groups. Of those who said they were sexually assaulted:

  • 33 percent of people 18 to 34 years old
  • 30 percent of people 35 to 49 years old
  • 36 percent of people 50 to 64 years old
  • 34 percent of people more than 65 years old

The poll found that among those men and women who said they were sexually assaulted:

  • 39 percent said it happened in social settings
  • 37 percent said it happened at work
  • 27 percent said it happened at home
  • 20 percent said it happened on the street
  • 19 percent said it happened in school

According to the poll, 52 percent of Americans said people coming forward with stories of sexual harassment and sexual assault will change the nation for the better, 9 percent said it will make the situation worse and 33 percent said it will not have much impact.

"The number is staggering: Almost half of American women say they've been sexually assaulted," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. "Most Americans give most institutions failing grades for how they deal with sexual assault and sexual harassment within their ranks ... But there is a ray of sunshine here. Most Americans believe that shining a light on the problem, rather than sweeping it under the rug, will help make us a better people."

To view more about the Quinnipiac University national poll, click here.

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