Montana is one of the least populated states in the country with just over a million people. When you think of Montana, you probably don't think of a state that cracks the Top 10 in one of the most horrific criminal acts that a person can experience, but according to new data, that seems to be the case.

Keep in mind, these figures are based on per capita numbers, however, this is still an alarming statistic and one that needs to be addressed by state and federal lawmakers.

According to World Population Review, which gathered information from the FBI and the Criminal Justice Information Services Division, Montana makes the Top 10 in states with the highest rape rates.

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Out of the Top 10 states, Montana ranks 10th with 57 rapes per 100,000 people, which results in just under 630 rapes per year. While there are states with much higher numbers, once again we're talking about rate of rape based on population. Now, keep in mind those are the reported rapes; experts believe that a large percentage of rape and sexual assault goes unreported.

Innocent victim of rape in white sheet

Another thing to consider is that it's not only women that are victims of rape. While the majority are female, there is a percentage of men that fall victim to rape and sexual assault as well.

According to Find Law, the punishment for rape in the state of Montana is as follows:

Generally, a person convicted of sexual intercourse without consent is punished by life imprisonment, or by imprisonment for between four and 100 years and a fine of up to $50,000.

The penalty increases under certain circumstances; if the victim is underage or if the person committing the crime inflicts injury in the course of the act. So, let me ask you this, should Montana have tougher laws than are currently in place? Should we re-examine the punishment and consider increasing jail time?

Hand in jail

If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline. Their number is 1-800-656-4673.

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