Low-Income Survivors — Prevalence Rates


Facts about poverty in the United States

  • 15.3% of women between the ages of 18 and 64 are in poverty.
  • Women of color, both cisgender and transgender, have high rates of income disparity compared to their counterparts.
  • Among women 18 to 44, 29.4% of bisexual women and 22.7% of lesbians are in poverty, rates higher than their heterosexual counterparts (21.1%).
  • 20.5% of gay men and 25.9% of bisexual men fell at or below the federal poverty line than heterosexual men (15.3%).
  • 22% to 64% of transgender people reported earning less than $25,000 a year.
  • People with a household income under $7,500 are twice as likely as the general population to be survivors of sexual assault.
  • Women living in poverty are at much greater risk of sexual violence.
  • Sexual violence can jeopardize a person’s economic well-being and can lead to homelessness, unemployment, interrupted education, and mental and physical health issues.
  • 32% of homeless youth reported having been sexually assaulted, 15% after living on the streets (Greco & Dawgert, 2007)
  • 61% of homeless girls and 16% of homeless boys reported having been sexually abused before leaving home (Greco & Dawgert, 2007)
  • 32% of women, 27% of men, and 38% of transgender people who are homeless or marginally housed reported either physical or sexual victimization in the previous year. Sexual assault was reported by 11.9% of transgender people, 9.4% of women, and 1.4% of men (Greco & Dawgert, 2007)

The Cost of Surviving Rape

  • Rape is the most costly of all crimes to its victims, with total estimated costs at $127 billion a year — which does not count child abuse — in the U.S.
  • Each rape is estimated to cost approximately $151,423 to $265,400 for each survivor, though the amount varies by state.
  • One study found that Texas survivors could pay between $15,000 to $50,000 in medical services, lost work productivity, and mental health care.
  • Another study found that the personal cost of a sexual assault in Michigan is $108,447
  • The average amount of student loan debt is approximately $30,000.
  • Medical care after a sexual assault is an average of $2,000.
  • 50% of survivors lost their jobs or were forced to quit in the year following their assault.
  • Violence and abuse constitutes up to 37.5% of total U.S. health care costs.
  • One study found, 15% of women rape survivors GPA fell below 2.5, compared to 6% of those who were not raped; 8% of survivors raped in high school reported that their first college semester GPA fell below a 2.5, compared to 3% of those who were not raped in high school.
  • Campus survivors experience a range of education-related financial burdens as a result of sexual violence including decline in academic performance which can lead to financial aid and scholarship loss, academic probation, taking time off and dropping out, and long-term impact on employment and graduate school opportunities.