Sexual violence happens far too often -- and a recent report is proof that something needs to change.
On Sept. 5, the CDC published a report on its National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. Using data collected in 2011, the report examines intimate partner violence, sexual violence and stalking based on a telephone survey which polled 12,727 people over the age of 18 in 50 states and the District of Columbia. Out of all the participants, a total of 6,879 were women and 5,848 were men.
Defining rape as "completed forced penetration," "attempted forced penetration" or "completed alcohol- or drug-facilitated penetration," researchers found that approximately 19.3 percent of American women and 1.7 percent of American men have been raped in their lifetimes.
That means that almost one in five women in the U.S. has been raped. That's over 23 million women.
An estimated 1.6 percent of women surveyed reported being raped in the previous year, which suggests that over 1.9 million American women are victims of rape or attempted rape every year when applied to the broader population. This is consistent with other estimates.
"A substantial proportion of U.S. female and male adults have experienced some form of sexual violence, stalking, or intimate partner violence at least once during their lifetimes," the survey concluded. "Consistent with previous studies, the overall pattern of results suggest that women, in particular, are heavily impacted over their lifetime."
The study analyzed three categories which included sexual violence (rape, attempted rape and other forms of sexual violence), stalking and physical violence by an intimate partner. The data revealed that many victims of these categories first experienced it before the age of 25 which suggests that people under 25 years old are more likely to become victims of stalking, physical violence and/or sexual violence. For example, of the women who had been raped, 78.7 percent were first raped before 25 (40.4 percent before the age of 18).
An estimated 43.9 percent of women and 23.4 percent of men surveyed reported experiencing other forms of sexual violence (defined as "being made to penetrate, sexual coercion, unwanted sexual contact and non-contact unwanted sexual experiences") during their lifetimes.
The report also analyzed physical violence by an intimate partner such as being hit with something hard, being burned and/or being kicked and beaten. Data showed that an estimated 22.3 percent of women and 14 percent of men have experienced this type of severe physical violence during their lifetimes.
Regarding stalking, sexual and physical violence, female victims largely reported male perpetrators while the sex of perpetrators against male victims varied depending on the form of violence. Male victims of stalking found their perpetrators were more commonly women, while male victims of rape had predominantly male perpetrators.
While both men and women are victims of rape, the majority of the data shows almost all perpetrators in all three categories of violence are men. Even one victim is too many when it comes to sexual and physical violence, but let's hope 23 million will prompt action.
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline or visit the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline operated by RAINN. For more resources, visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center's website.
To read more of the study click here.