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On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States, according to findings released this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Over the course of a year, that equals more than 12 million women and men. Those numbers only tell part of the story – more than 1 million women reported being raped in a year and over 6 million women and men were victims of stalking in a year, the report says.
“This landmark report paints a clear picture of the devastating impact these violent acts have on the lives of millions of Americans,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “The information collected in this ongoing survey will serve as a vital tool in the Administration‚Ä?s efforts to combat domestic violence and sexual abuse. And the report underscores the importance of our Administration‚Ä?s work to combat domestic violence and sexual assault.”
The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, or NISVS, is one of CDC‚Ä?s latest public health surveillance systems and is designed to better describe and monitor the magnitude of sexual violence, stalking and intimate partner violence victimization in the United States. It is the first survey of its kind to provide simultaneous national and state-level prevalence estimates of violence for all states. Launched in 2010, NISVS also provides data on several types of violence that have not previously been measured in a national population-based survey.
Key findings in the NISVS 2010 Summary Report include:
• High rates of sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence were reported by women.
•Nearly 1 in 5 women has been raped at some time in her life.
•One in 4 women has been a victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in her lifetime.
•One in 6 women has experienced stalking victimization during her lifetime in which she felt very fearful or believed that she or someone close to her would be harmed or killed. Much of stalking victimization was facilitated by technology, such as unwanted phone calls and text messages.
•Almost 70 percent of female victims experienced some form of intimate partner violence for the first time before the age of 25.
•Approximately 80 percent of female victims of rape were first raped before age 25.
•Female victims of violence (sexual violence, stalking, intimate partner violence) were significantly more likely to report physical and mental health problems than female non-victims.
•Across all forms of violence (sexual violence, stalking, intimate partner violence), the vast majority of victims knew their perpetrator (often an intimate partner or acquaintance and seldom a stranger).
•About 1 in 7 men has experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime.
•One in 19 men has experienced stalking victimization at some point during their lifetime in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.
•Almost 53 percent of male victims experienced some form of intimate partner violence for the first time before age of 25
•More than one-quarter of male rape victims were first raped when they were 10 years old or younger.
•Male victims of violence (sexual violence, stalking, intimate partner violence) were significantly more likely to report physical and mental health problems than male non-victims.
“This report highlights the heavy toll that sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence places on adults in this country. These forms of violence take the largest toll on women, who are more likely to report immediate impacts and long-term health problems caused by their victimization,” said Linda C. Degutis, Dr.P.H., M.S.N., director of CDC‚Ä?s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. “Much victimization begins early in life, but the consequences can last a lifetime.”
The report findings also underscore violence as a major public health burden and demonstrate how violence can have impacts that last a lifetime. For instance, the findings indicate female victims of violence had a significantly higher prevalence of long-term health problems, including irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, frequent headaches, chronic pain, and difficulty sleeping. And nearly twice as many women who were victims of violence reported having asthma, compared to women who did not report violence victimization.
“The health problems caused by violence remind us of the importance of prevention,” said Howard Spivak, M.D., director of the Division of Violence Prevention in CDC‚Ä?s Injury Center. “In addition to intervening and providing services, prevention efforts need to start earlier in life, with the ultimate goal of preventing all of these types of violence before they start.”
NISVS provides data that can help inform policies and programs aimed at preventing violence as well as addressing the specific information needs of state and national governmental and nongovernmental organizations, while providing an initial benchmark for tracking the effectiveness of prevention efforts.
Published: December 22, 2011 – Volume 10 – Issue 36