A national study released this week revealed the prevalence of rape, sexual assault and domestic violence in the United States as well as the effects and health consequences of these experiences.
The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey was done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and was supported by the National Institute of Justice and the Department of Defense. The study itself involved a telephone survey in 2010 of more than 16,500 adults. The report is thought to help guide and target prevention efforts.
Some of the report’s key numbers related to U.S. adults included:
- Overall, more than one in three women and one in four men reported having experienced rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner at some point in their lives.
- One in five women and one in 71 men said they had been raped or experienced an attempted rape during their lifetime. More than half of female victims reported being raped by an intimate partner and another nearly 41 percent by an acquaintance. More than half of male victims also reported being raped by an acquaintance.
- One in six women and one in 19 men have been stalked at some point in their lives.
- One in four women and one in seven men reported having experienced “severe physical violence” by an intimate partner.
Additionally, findings focused on the impact of intimate partner violence, a look at these issues by race and ethnicity, violence in the last 12 months and health consequences for victims.
Many news outlets and online news sites picked up on the release of the survey results and reported on the findings. Stories focused on different aspects of the survey’s results. Stories also tended to either point out how “shocking,” “surprising” or “disturbing” these findings were or, in contrast, to point out that the study’s findings were not news. Those who stated the latter usually did credit the survey for confirming the prevalence of these issues and discrediting myths surrounding these topics, such as the idea that most rapes are perpetrated by strangers. These differences in emphasis and interpretation are most clearly demonstrated in the titles of the articles below:
- Nearly 1 in 5 Women in U.S. Survey Say They Have Been Sexually Assaulted (New York Times)
- One in 4 women has been harmed by an intimate partner, CDC says (LA Times)
- Survey: 1 in 3 women affected by partner’s violent behavior (CNN)
- Survey: 1 in 4 women attacked by intimate partner (AP)
- Rape has long-lasting, far-ranging health effects (USA Today)
- What Does CDC’s New Data About Sexual Assault Reveal? (The Frisky)
- Government Shocked By Depressing Rape Statistics We All Learned About in College (Jezebel)
- Rape and Violence: U.S. Survey Finds Much Higher Rates Than Thought (TIME)
Read an executive summary of the survey or the full report here.
This is the Gender Report’s Week in Review, a weekly post that highlights some of the major stories related to gender issues this week. Some of these stories may have already appeared in our News Feed or in the week’s Gender Checks. We’ll at times include a longer analysis of stories as well as bring attention to stories that may have slipped through the cracks of the week’s news cycle.