Unpacking the Me Too Movement & Statistics on Sexual Assault | All Points North

Start the Admissions Process Online

Fill out your information to receive a free, confidential call from the team at All Points North.


Unpacking the Me Too Movement & Statistics on Sexual Assault

Written by Samantha Carter

The Me Too movement has profoundly impacted the global conversation around sexual assault, harassment, and consent. Sparked by a simple but powerful phrase, “Me Too,” this social movement has empowered countless survivors to come forward with their stories, creating a collective voice against sexual violence.

To better understand this mobilization, we’ll be unpacking the origins and significance of the Me Too movement, presenting shocking statistics on sexual assault, and underscoring the importance of seeking mental health services for survivors. While the movement itself has been inspiring, the cause of it is not. To change these pervasive atrocities, we first need to be brave enough to talk about them.

Origins and Significance of the Me Too Movement

The Me Too movement, a nonprofit organization, was founded in 2006 by Tarana Burke, an activist who aimed to help survivors of sexual violence – particularly women of color from low-income communities – find pathways to healing. Burke’s vision was to provide empathy and solidarity for survivors, emphasizing the power of shared experiences.

Later, the phrase “Me Too” gained widespread prominence in October 2017 when actress Alyssa Milano encouraged victims of sexual harassment and assault to tweet it as a status. The tweet, “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me Too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem,” went viral. Within 24 hours, the hashtag had been used more than 200,000 times, and by the end of the year, it had been used over 12 million times across social media platforms.

The movement not only highlighted the prevalence of sexual misconduct, but it also sparked crucial conversations about the power dynamics, cultural norms, and systemic issues that perpetuate such behavior. High-profile allegations against influential figures in various industries led to a significant shift in societal attitudes towards sexual harassment and assault, prompting legal reforms and changes in workplace policies.

Shocking Statistics on Sexual Assault

Sexual assault remains a pervasive issue globally, affecting individuals regardless of age, gender, or socioeconomic status. Below are some shocking and disturbing statistics that illustrate the scope and impact of sexual violence.

Around the Globe

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 1 in 3 women worldwide have experienced physical and/or sexual violence, primarily by an intimate partner.

A 2018 report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) indicated that 87,000 women were intentionally killed in 2017, and more than half (58%) were killed by intimate partners or family members.

In the United States

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) reports that 1 in 5 women and nearly a quarter of men in the U.S. have experienced sexual violence in their lives.

The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) estimates that an American is sexually assaulted every 68 seconds.

In college settings, about 26.4% of women and 6.8% of men are sexually assaulted during their time in higher education.

With Women and Girls

In the U.S., women aged 18-24 are at an elevated risk of sexual violence, with the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) indicating that this age group experiences the highest rates of rape and sexual assault.

With Men and Boys

Although often underreported, men and boys are also victims of sexual violence. Statistics have shown that roughly 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before age 18.

In the LGBTQ+ Community

Members of the LGBTQ+ community face higher rates of sexual violence. The NSVRC states that 47% of transgender individuals are sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime.

Children and Adolescents

The CDC indicates that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 20 boys experience child sexual abuse.

Reporting and Legal Outcomes

Despite the prevalence of sexual assault, underreporting remains a significant issue. The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) estimates that 77% of rapes and sexual assaults go unreported.

Conviction rates for sexual assault are low. RAINN reports that for every 1,000 sexual assaults, 310 are reported to police, 50 lead to arrest, 28 result in felony conviction, and 25 lead to incarceration.

Psychological and Health Impacts

Sexual assault has profound and lasting impacts on survivors, affecting their mental, emotional, and physical health.

Mental Health

Survivors often experience mental illness and suicidal thoughts. According to Mental Health America, survivors of sexual assault are at increased risk for developing:

  • Depression
  • PTSD
  • Substance use disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Anxiety

Physical Health

Sexual assault can lead to injuries, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), unwanted pregnancies, and chronic health issues such as gastrointestinal disorders and chronic pain.

Social and Economic Impact

Survivors may also face social stigma, relationship difficulties, and economic hardships, including job loss and financial instability.

The Importance of Mental Health Services for Survivors

Addressing the trauma of sexual assault is crucial for the well-being of survivors. Therefore, mental health services play a pivotal role in this process by offering support and resources to help individuals navigate their recovery journey.

There are many different types of treatments that can be considered for survivors of sexual assault, including those listed below.

Therapy and Counseling

Professional therapy can provide a safe space for survivors to process their experiences, develop coping strategies, and work through trauma-related symptoms. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and trauma-focused therapies are particularly effective.

Support Groups

Support groups offer a sense of community and shared understanding. They allow survivors to connect with others who have had similar experiences, which reduces feelings of isolation and fosters mutual support.

Hotlines and Crisis Intervention

Organizations like RAINN offer 24/7 hotlines and online chat services for immediate support. Crisis intervention services provide critical assistance during moments of acute distress.

Medical and Legal Assistance

Comprehensive care for survivors often involves medical attention for injuries and STIs, as well as legal advocacy to navigate the criminal justice system. To find resources in your local area, start by contacting RAINN at 800.656.4673.

Alternative Mental Health Interventions

Aside from traditional approaches to mental healthcare, alternative and holistic approaches should also be considered. Alternative therapies may include things like: deep TMS, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, massage therapy, equine therapy, meditation and mindfulness, ketamine treatment, stellate ganglion block, nuerofeedback, and more. Oftentimes, alternative therapies can tap into deeper parts of our pain and healing in a way that traditional therapies alone can’t always do.

Residential Treatment Facilities

Sexual assault is a significant trauma that may require taking a more targeted and intensive approach. If accessing services in your everyday isn’t enough, residential stays can provide survivors of sexual assault a chance to focus solely on their treatment and healing.

All Points North Lodge offers comprehensive treatment programs for survivors of trauma, individuals dealing with mental illness, and issues related to substance abuse. Here, you can take the time to really dive into the things that hurt to help make them better.

Barriers to Accessing Services

Despite the availability of services for sexual assault survivors, several barriers can hinder access, including any of the following.

Stigma and Shame

Social stigma around sexual assault can prevent survivors from seeking help. Fear of not being believed or being blamed can exacerbate feelings of shame and guilt.

Lack of Resources

Inadequate funding and resources can limit the availability and accessibility of mental health services, particularly in rural or underserved areas.

Cultural and Language Barriers

Cultural differences and language barriers can impede access to appropriate care. Culturally competent services are essential to meet the diverse needs of survivors.

Encouraging Help-Seeking Behavior

To overcome these barriers, it’s crucial to create an environment that encourages help-seeking behavior. We can do this by working on the following.

Raising Awareness

Public education campaigns can challenge stigmatizing attitudes and increase awareness of available resources.

Improving Accessibility

Enhancing the accessibility of mental health services through telehealth, mobile apps, and community-based programs can reach more survivors.

Cultural Sensitivity

Providing culturally sensitive care that respects and understands diverse backgrounds is essential to ensure all survivors feel comfortable seeking help.

From “Me Too” To “What Now?”

The Me Too movement has brought critical attention to the pervasive issue of sexual assault and has empowered survivors to break their silence. While the statistics on sexual violence are sobering, they also underscore the urgent need for continued advocacy, education, and support for survivors.

Mental health services are vital for helping individuals heal from the trauma of sexual assault. Therefore, it’s imperative to create an environment that encourages seeking help. Together, we can work towards creating a future where every survivor feels supported, heard, and valued; together, we can work to end these harrowing statistics and forge a brighter tomorrow.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, know that you’re not alone and that support is available. Reaching out for help looks different for everyone. However, the resources below are a great starting point in seeking help and healing.

  • National Sexual Assault Hotline (RAINN): Call 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit rainn.org for confidential support.
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or visit thehotline.org.
  • SAMHSA’s National Helpline: Call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for mental health and substance abuse resources.
  • Therapy and Counseling Services: Consider finding a therapist specializing in trauma and sexual assault. Websites like Psychology Today offer directories of licensed professionals.
  • All Points North Programs and Services: Call 855.232.8217 or fill out the free contact form today. Here, you can explore a variety of mental health interventions, from therapy and psychiatry services, to healing residential programs and alternative treatment methods.


  • “About Child Sexual Abuse.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/child-abuse-neglect/about/about-child-sexual-abuse.html. Accessed 15 June 2024.
  • Age Patterns of Victims of Serious Violent Crime, bjs.ojp.gov/content/pub/pdf/apvsvc.pdf. Accessed 15 June 2024.
  • “Campus Sexual Violence: Statistics.” RAINN, rainn.org/statistics/campus-sexual-violence. Accessed 15 June 2024.
  • “Economics as a Factor in Sexual Violence.” National Sexual Violence Resource Center, www.nsvrc.org/blogs/economics-factor-sexual-violence#:~:text=The%20economic%20impact%20of%20rape,and%20care%20for%20their%20family. Accessed 15 June 2024.
  • “Get to Know Us: History & Inception.” Me Too Movement, 16 July 2020, metoomvmt.org/get-to-know-us/history-inception/.
  • “Impacts of Sexual Violence.” Rape Victim Advocacy Program – Division of Student Life | The University of Iowa, rvap.uiowa.edu/help/impacts-sexual-violence#:~:text=Impacts%20on%20the%20body&text=However%2C%20short%20and%20long%2Dterm,Gastrointestinal%20disorders. Accessed 15 June 2024.
  • “Interview: Alyssa Milano on the #MeToo Movement: ‘We’re Not Going to Stand for It Any More.’” Whidbey Island Center for the Arts, Whidbey Island Center for the Arts, 12 July 2019, www.wicaonline.org/blog/2019/7/12/ytgmo82cds1lc7ypjgfenucgevhgzc.
  • “The Legislative Impacts of #MeToo Five Years Later.” Burnette Shutt & McDaniel, PA, 3 Nov. 2023, burnetteshutt.law/metoo-five-years-later/#:~:text=The%20%23MeToo%20movement%20spurred%20several,beneficial%20to%20plaintiffs%2C%20then%20followed.
  • “The 1 in 6 Statistic – Sexual Abuse & Assault of Boys & Men: Confidential Support for Men.” Sexual Abuse & Assault of Boys & Men | Confidential Support for Men, 5 Apr. 2022, 1in6.org/statistic/.
  • OnLabor. “How Did #metoo Change Employment Law?” OnLabor, 18 Dec. 2023, onlabor.org/how-did-metoo-change-employment-law/#:~:text=This%20wave%20of%20legislation%20is,their%20own%20role%20in%20abuse.
  • “Metoo Movement.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 3 June 2024, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MeToo_movement#:~:text=The%20phrase%20%22Me%20too%22%20was%20tweeted%20by%20Milano%20on%20October,first%2024%20hours%20on%20Facebook.
  • “The Criminal Justice System: Statistics.” RAINN, www.rainn.org/statistics/criminal-justice-system. Accessed 15 June 2024.
  • “Rape-Related Pregnancy: Estimates and Descriptive Characteristics from a National Sample of Women.” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8765248/. Accessed 15 June 2024.
  • Rose, Hayley. “Relationships after Sexual Assault.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 5 Aug. 2012, www.huffpost.com/entry/surviving-sexual-assault_b_1561284.
  • “Sexual Assault and Abuse and Stis – STI Treatment Guidelines.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 22 July 2021, www.cdc.gov/std/treatment-guidelines/sexual-assault-adults.htm.
  • “Sexual Assault and Mental Health.” Mental Health America, mhanational.org/sexual-assault-and-mental-health. Accessed 15 June 2024.
  • Sexual Violence & Transgender/Non-Binary Communities, www.nsvrc.org/sites/default/files/publications/2019-02/Transgender_infographic_508_0.pdf. Accessed 15 June 2024.
  • “Statistics.” National Sexual Violence Resource Center, www.nsvrc.org/statistics. Accessed 15 June 2024.
  • Stewart, Danielle. “Stigmas and Stereotypes around Sexual Assault and Reporting.” Resilience, 26 Mar. 2021, resiliencemi.org/stereotypes/.
  • “Understanding Common Injuries of Sexual Assault.” Godoy Medical Forensics, 11 Jan. 2023, godoymedical.net/understanding-common-injuries-of-sexual-assault/.
  • “United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.” United Nations : Office on Drugs and Crime, www.unodc.org/. Accessed 14 June 2024.
  • “Violence against Women.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/violence-against-women#:~:text=Estimates%20published%20by%20WHO%20indicate,violence%20is%20intimate%20partner%20violence. Accessed 14 June 2024.