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The Criminal Justice System’s Two Percent Response to Rape

The Criminal Justice System’s Two Percent Response to Rape Research persuaded Congress of the need for federal attention to crimes of violence against women. These reports showed that, from the perspective of the rape victim, there is less than a two percent chance that the attacker would be arrested, convicted, sentenced, and serve time in prison. The statistics prepared by the majority staff of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary concluded that a woman had

A 2.5 percent chance of seeing her attacker convicted and

A 1.9 percent chance of seeing her attacker incarcerated. The state-by-state survey showed that when arrests were made, conviction rates vary:

Compare the average conviction rates for rape with murder and robbery in these states:

all states have relaxed their laws. spousal exemption altogether, either through legislative action or court order. A few have established a separate offense of spousal rape. Others have excluded marriage explicitly as a defense against a charge of rape. Despite these changes, there remain differences in the prosecution of spousal and non-spousal sexual assault in reporting requirements and elements of the crime (especially regarding how much force is used). For example, husbands may be exempt when spouses are living together but prosecuted if living separately or if the wife has filed for divorce. On the other hand, a few states have broadened the exemption to include couples who are acquaintances. The prohibitions that remain against the prosecution of husbands and boyfriends still severely limit efforts to prevent and punish woman battery (see below).