1 in 4 US Women Report Violence By an Intimate Partner

More than 12 million women and men in the US experience sexual violence, stalking and intimate partner violence at shockingly high rates every year, according to data released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from its National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS):

  • Every minute, 24 people in the US are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner
  • Nearly 1 in 5 women has been raped.
  • 1 in 4 women and nearly 1 in 7 men have  been the victim of severe physical violence from an intimate partner at some point in their lives.
  • More than a quarter of male rape victims were first raped at the age of 10 or younger.
  • Approximately 80 percent of female rape victims were first raped at the age of 25 or younger.
  • 1 in 6 women has been the victim of stalking in which she “felt very fearful or believed that she or someone close to her would be harmed or killed”; technology (text messages, unwanted phone calls) often played a part.
  • In the case of women, the “vast majority” of victims of sexual violence knew the perpetrator.

For both women and men, victims of all forms of severe violence were “significantly” more likely to suffer mental and/or physical health problems. Female victims of severe violence reported having asthma at nearly twice the rate of non-victims. Among the health problems that female victims have suffered are irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, frequent headaches, chronic pain and difficulty sleeping. Both women and men who had been victims of severe violence report having frequent headaches, chronic pain, difficulty sleeping, limitations on activity and poor physical and mental health.

Women in abusive relationships are also more likely to smoke, according to Lisa James, director of health for San Francisco-based Futures Without Violence in a New York Times assessment of the data. “People who grow up with violence adopt coping strategies that can lead to poor health outcomes,” she points out.

The study’s findings show the need for the importance of prevention that starts early in life, “with the ultimate goal of preventing all of these types of violence before they start,” as Howard Spivak, M.D., director of the Division of Violence Prevention in CDC′s Injury Center, says in a press release.

The study’s findings are based on interviews of about 25 minutes each that were conducted in 2010 with 9,086 women and 7,421 men.

The CDC says that NISVS data can be used to assist in creating policies to prevent such violence. The recent sexual abuse scandals at Penn State University and at Syracuse University have made it all too clear why laws to protect children from abuse, and to ensure that abuse is quickly and routinely reported, are necessary. But it’s also necessary to take a hard look at our society and how women are routinely victimized and sexualized in advertisements, in popular culture and numerous other outlets, and the effects of such tacit allowing of images of violence against women. A Futures Without Violence webpage about domestic, dating and sexual violence describes strategies that need to be implemenedt, including

…teaching the next generation that violence is wrong, training more health care providers to assess patients for abuse, implementing workplace prevention and victim support programs, and making services available to all victims including immigrants and children who witness violence

The NISVS statistics are deeply troubling and should be seen as a wake-up call to make preventing sexual violence a priority that requires constant advocacy.

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Photo by auntjojo


Martha Ferris
Martha F4 years ago

I accessed the reports and the violence is noted to be by an "intimate partner". It does not say whether this intimate partner is male or female. We must not assume that the intimate partner is a member of the opposite sex. Yes, women can rape. You don't have to have a penis to rape someone. Sexual violence, no matter who perpetrates it, must be stopped.

Wilhelm Lauzen
Past Member 4 years ago

Very simple, to create a monster just abuse a child.

Joo Sie
Joo Sie5 years ago

=( This is horrible!!!

Janine H.
Janine H6 years ago

Always when i hear about terrible things it makes me sad, and i cannot understand how someone could do something terrible - bully, hurt, rape or kill a person or animal. When i was a child this also happened to me... and surviving this is more terrible than not (parents and other may think different, but a victim?), living with all this pain... living with guilty feelings... full with hate for the own self... having one wish, not to wake up at the following day anymore...
No one can understand, because most people cannot imagine this, cannot imagine how much it change. Some of them think, that this would not be so terrible, because all would make some sexual experiences, and so it would not matter if there were some without own interest or wish. This cruel and superficial society makes me sick.

I know that it is not good to wish someone who does terrible things something as a punishment. But when i hear about violent people then i think why are they so "afraid" to go to someone equal and get some hits for their selves. This is a perversion, to think being more a man when beating a woman or a girl. This men are a shame for all normal men.

"We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not yet learned the simple art of living together as brothers." (Martin Luther King)

Fred H.
Fred H6 years ago

Christina B asks if I am "a woman-hater or just a troll?"

Neither. I just think that issues are addressed more effectively when we approach them with realism, rather than with misandry and feminist mythology. See http://csulb.edu/~mfiebert/assault.htm for a bibliography of almost 300 scientific studies which all found that women assault their partners at least as often as men.

Saying that women are just as human as men does not make me a "woman-hater." Denying it, however, does make you a female chauvinist.

Christina B.
Christina B6 years ago

The statistics are trully shocking.

Is Fred H. a woman-hater or just a troll? His views on related topics are questionable, to say the least.

Christina B.
Christina B6 years ago

>>The fact is that researchers have found with absolute consistency for over 30 years that women assault their partners at least as often as men.

dani r.
dani r.6 years ago


Fred H.
Fred H6 years ago

Because rape statistics have actually declined, advocates need a way to garner more taxpayer funds, so they have inflated rape statistics. For example, any woman who had sex while drunk was counted in this study as a "rape victim." Get drunk at your own wedding reception? Your first night of marital bliss just became (statistically) a rape. Get drunk with your boyfriend on New Years Eve? If you go home and celebrate, you've just become (statistically) a rape victim.

Stella Nobrega-Garcia

Absolutely shocking.