"One in Eight" --
Rape in Iowa: A Report to the State
Statement of Attorney General Miller:
This is a powerful and very sobering report. This highly-regarded study concludes that about 12.7% of adult women in Iowa -- one in every eight -- have been a victim of the crime of forcible rape sometime in their lives. That means about 146,000 Iowa women have suffered this horrible crime. That is a stunning and challenging fact. Click here for PDF version of "Rape in Iowa: A Report to the State."
I commend IowaCASA, the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault, for putting this report before us here in Iowa - and for all the work IowaCASA does to advocate for victims and serve them. I also commend the Iowa Dept. of Public Health for its work and for its understanding that sexual violence truly is a public health issue.
Actually, the true incidence of rape in Iowa is substantially higher even than 12-13%, because this study does not count statutory rapes, rape of male victims, rape of females currently under 18, and several other categories.
But a very conservative estimate of 'One in Eight' still is a horrifying fact - especially because the trauma of rape is not limited to the incident of the assault. The study concludes that tens of thousands of the Iowa victims have experienced or still experience various mental health problems from their victimization, including post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression, substance abuse, serious suicidal thoughts, and suicide attempts.
The report serves as a call to action and renewed commitment both to prevent rape and to assist rape victims.
The Attorney General's Office plays a significant role in the criminal justice system regarding sexual assault, including prosecuting offenders, working on the civil commitment program for sexual predators, handling all criminal appeals, and constantly working to improve our criminal statutes. (For example, we are asking the Legislature this year to extend the statute of limitations for sexual abuse when DNA identifies a suspect so that, if a suspect is identified by DNA, the statute of limitations is extended to three years from the date of that identification.)
I also want to emphasize three programs managed by the Crime Victim Assistance Division of our office to assist rape victims and the people who work with them - because we want victims to know about these programs and take advantage of them:
The Sexual Abuse Examination Payment program pays for sexual abuse examinations that collect evidence -- and assures that victims' health is attended to. The exams are done at local clinics and hospitals all over the state and are free and confidential for the victims (the victim is not required to report the crime.) This program aids the health of victims, and it also preserves evidence, should a criminal prosecution ensue. We highly encourage rape victims to go to their local hospital or clinic promptly for this important exam and assistance.
The Crime Victim Compensation Program pays victims' out-of-pocket expenses for consequences of the crime such as lost wages, counseling, and medical care. Victim compensation funds come entirely from fines and penalties paid by criminals. Compensation can't erase the painful consequences of sexual assault, but it can assist in recovery and help ease the financial burdens that result.
The Victim Service Grants program directs state and federal resources to some 33 local sexual abuse programs all over the state that support victims through the medical, counseling, and justice systems. It's only a portion of their funding, but it helps these independent programs fulfill their crucial mission.
Let me just close with a special word about IowaCASA and this network of 33 local programs who work with the victims of rape and other forms of sexual assault. These valiant workers truly are in the front lines aiding the One in Eight every day. They are there 24 hours a day providing services to victims of assault. They accompany victims to hospital and clinic exams, and accompany victims as they work with law enforcement and go to our courts. The programs provide counseling and support. They do all this on bare-bones budgets - but they do it with high quality work and professionalism. They truly are pioneers in helping the One in Eight through the terrible trauma of rape and sexual assault.
[END of Tom Miller statement]
Click here for PDF version of "Rape in Iowa: A Report to the State."
Rape in Iowa: A Report to the State is available from IowaCASA (515-244-7424, www.iowacasa.org.) It extrapolates information for Iowa from the Rape in America Report on research conducted by Dean G. Kilpatrick, PhD, and Kenneth J. Ruggerio, PhD, of the National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center at the medical University of South Carolina.