Although recent statistics hint that rates of reported rape and child sexual abuse began to decline in the 1990s, little is known about changes in the characteristics of victimizations over time or about the implications of these changes for policy and services. This investigation uses data from a general population survey to examine sexual assault trends in two ways: by age cohort and by historical era in which a first sexual assault experience occurred. Findings suggest that the lifetime prevalence of sexual assault has not significantly changed across cohorts of women in their 20s to 50s. Characteristics of women's experiences across cohorts may be shifting, however, with early childhood experiences of sexual victimization showing a slight decline, accompanied by increases in assault rates during adolescence. Additionally, although help-seeking among victims has increased, women's perceptions of their community's responsiveness have worsened slightly. Research and intervention implications are discussed.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/erin-casey/29/