Every two minutes, someone in the United States is sexually assaulted.
Every six minutes, someone in the United States is raped.
Sexual assault and rape can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime.
The Sexual Assault Crisis Center in Knoxville defines sexual assault as "any unwanted sexual contact or sexual attention committed by force, threat, bribe, manipulation, pressure, tricks, traps, surprise or abuse of one's position of authority."
The center defines rape as "any unwanted penetration of the victim's or the perpetrator's body with any body part or object."
The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network's (RAINN) 2002 statistical report indicates there were 247,430 victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assault in the U.S.
That figure only includes cases reported to authorities.
Sgt. Vincent Busico, The University of Tennessee Police Department's crime prevention coordinator, said reporting rape or attempted rape would stop repeat offenses.
"If you don't report it, who's to say it's not going to happen again down the road to someone else?" he asked.
According to its Web site, RAINN says an approximated 61 percent of rapes are never reported to authorities. UTPD reported six sexual offenses in its 2002 Crime Statistics Report.
Busico said rapists typically use sex as a weapon of control over a victim. He added that unreported rapes can give a rapist a sense of power and dominance.
"They'll think they can do it again to someone else," he said. "If it happened to you, it can happen to someone else."
Of the sexual assault and rape crimes that are reported, the majority involve alcohol, consumed by either the victim or the assailant.
"I've never investigated a rape where the victim or the suspect didn't have alcohol," UTPD Detective Emily Sellers said. "Legally, in the state of Tennessee, alcohol incapacitates people to make sound decisions."
According to the University of California's Rape Treatment Center Web site, the involvement of alcohol in a rape does not place the blame on the victim.
"Being drunk is not an excuse for committing any criminal act, including a sexual assault. If a man has sex with a woman when she is prevented from resisting by the effects of alcohol or other drugs, the man can be charged with rape or sexual assault if he knew or reasonably should have known that the woman was mentally or physically incapacitated," the Web site states.
Sellers also said acquaintance rape is more common than date rape. The Sexual Assault Crisis Center defines date rape as "rape committed by a date or ongoing intimate partner."
"Don't call it 'date rape' to lessen the severity of the crime," Sellers advised. "Just because they know each other, rape is rape. People don't give date rape enough credence. It's still rape."
RAINN reports that 66 percent of rape victims know their assailant. Forty-eight percent of victims are raped by an acquaintance.
More statistical information can be obtained from RAINN at http://www.rainn.org/statisticsarc.html.