Alaska ranks as the worst state for women’s safety according to our index, which factors in reported rape, contact sexual violence, stalking, unwanted sexual contact, and intimate partner victimization.
Among the top worst states for women in the United States are Alaska, Oregon, Maine, New Mexico, and Arkansas, all of which experience a rate of unwanted sexual contact above 10% of the population and contact sexual violence above 14% of the population.
The best states for women are Utah, Georgia, and North Dakota, all of which experienced fewer reports of sexual violence in relation to their population.
However, locals there should keep in mind that this is the lowest reported data according to the FBI and CDC — this data assumes incidences are reported. Unfortunately, sometimes these types of crimes can be normalized in certain cultures, perpetuating the problem.
We created our index based on women-specific data sets, such as the FBI’s legacy definition of rape and the CDC’s gender-specific data on stalking, intimate partner violence, and other forms of sexual misconduct. (The older definition of rape according to the FBI was a women-only issue, which was later expanded to other forms of forced sexual acts for both men and women.)
Some states experience different extremes of certain bad behaviors; for instance, Nevada, Kentucky, and Tennessee were all comparatively worse for stalking.
These five factors paint a different picture of sexual violence than simply factoring in rape only.
A quick overview of our index across the United States shows that the worst states for women in the U.S. are not necessarily clustered around states with large cities, such as California or New York. With rural American states like Oregon, Alaska, and Maine experiencing high violence statistics in relation to their population, one might assume that other rural states like North Carolina and North Dakota would also experience low violence. This is not the case, according to federally reported data.
It’s important that each individual state assesses its own cultural issues, legal red tape, and behavioral change techniques for tackling the problem of violence toward women.
Want to share the full infographic? Use this link or the embed code below!