Nearly 22 million women - about one in five - have been raped in their lifetimes in the US, with nearly half of the victims subjected to sexual assault before the age of 18, according to a White House report.
Though women of all races are targeted, but some are more vulnerable than
others, it said.
The report said 33.5% of multiracial women have been raped, as have 27% of American-Indian and Alaska Native women, compared to 15% of Hispanic, 22% of black, and 19% of White women.
Most victims know their assailants and a vast majority (nearly 98%) of perpetrators are male, according to the report released on Wednesday.
Nearly 22 million American women and 1.6 million men have been raped in their lifetimes, it said.
The report was issued by the White House ahead of a cabinet-level meeting of the White House Council chaired by President Barack Obama on women and girls with the council representatives from each agency to examine the progress made and to renew a call to root out abuse wherever it exists.
The report titled "Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action" outlined the facts surrounding rape and sexual assault and identified key areas to focus on and improve, including efforts towards changing social norms, improving criminal justice response, and protecting students from sexual assault.
Later, Obama signed a Presidential memorandum to set up a task force to protect students from sexual assaults.
"The President believes that the prevalence of rape and sexual assault in our Nation's schools is both deeply troubling and a call to action. When 1 in 5 young women is sexually assaulted while in college, we must do more," the White House said in a fact sheet.
According to the report, young people are especially at risk with nearly half of female survivors raped before they were 18, and over a quarter of male survivors raped before they were 10.
College students are particularly vulnerable, one in five women has been sexually assaulted while in college, the report said.
Repeat victimisation is common with over a third of women who were raped as minors were also raped as adults, it said.
Men and boys, however, are also at risk, the report said, adding that one in 71 men or almost 1.6 million have been raped during their lives.
Other populations are also at higher risk of being raped or sexually assaulted, including people with disabilities, the LGBT community, prison inmates (of both genders), and the homeless, the report said.
Undocumented immigrants face unique challenges because their abusers often threaten to have them deported if they try to get help, it said.
© Copyright © 2013 HT Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.