In Grim Rape Statistics, Signs of Progress


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Decades of feminism and, more recently, discussions about sexual assault on campuses and in the military have acculturated us to extinguish any distinctions we might make in our minds between stranger and acquaintance rape. But law enforcers and criminologists don’t necessarily view things the same way, if only because a prevalence of attacks like the one in Chinatown would have a greater capacity to produce broad-ranging panic. According to national data from the Centers for Disease Control in 2012, the rate of stranger rape as a percentage of all rape is 14 percent; in New York City this year, the rate is half that. Of the 540 reported rapes, 39 were committed by someone the victim did not know, according to the police.


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