Idaho Perinatal Project

Posted:12/14/2011

CDC issues report on sexual violence in US

NBC Nightly News (12/14, story 5, 0:30, Williams) reported, "We got startling new numbers from the" Centers for Disease Control and Prevention "today based on a new survey of domestic violence. One in four women in this country reported being violently attacked by a husband or boyfriend. ... One in five women said they have been sexually assaulted."

The New York Times (12/15, A32, Rabin, Subscription Publication) reports that the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey "released on Wednesday affirmed that sexual violence against women remains endemic in the United States and in some instances may be far more common than previously thought. Nearly one in five women surveyed said they had been raped or had experienced an attempted rape at some point, and one in four reported having been beaten by an intimate partner. One in six women [has] been stalked, according to the report." The survey was given to "a nationally representative sample of 16,507 adults" and "elicited information on types of aggression not previously studied in national surveys, including sexual violence other than rape, psychological aggression, coercion and control of reproductive and sexual health."

USA Today (12/15, Lloyd) reports, "Nearly one in five women and one in 71 men report being raped in their lifetime," according to the study. "Among female victims, 30% reported being first raped when they were between 11 and 17 years old; 12% were 10 or younger. Among males, 28% of male victims were first raped when they were 10 or younger." Howard Spivak, the "director of the CDC's division of violence prevention," was quoted as saying, "The finding of this happening at an early age has huge policy implications" and shows a "need to focus on children, not (just) teens or adults."

The National Journal (12/15, Fox, Subscription Publication) notes, "The vast majority of rape victims, male and female, say they knew their attackers," the study shows.

Bloomberg News (12/15, Peterson) points out that this report's "figures dwarf a Department of Justice estimate that 188,380 sexual assaults occurred in the US last year, a 24 percent decline from 2009. That study, released in September, surveyed 40,974 US households." In contrast, the CDC report says that "about 1.3 million women were sexually assaulted in the 12 months prior to the survey." However, "studies show most sexual assaults go unreported, in part because victims may feel ashamed, embarrassed, or afraid that police won't believe an assault occurred, according to the Justice Department's National Institute of Justice."

The report "found that being a victim of violence may have health-related repercussions," the Los Angeles Times (12/15, Stein) "Booster Shots" blog notes. "Women who had been raped or stalked by anyone or physically harmed by an intimate partner had higher incidences of asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, and diabetes. Women and men who had been victims of violence were more likely to have chronic pain, frequent headaches, trouble sleeping, and overall poor physical and mental health, compared with those who hadn't."

CQ (12/15, Reichard, Subscription Publication) provides links to a CDC press report (pdf), summary report (pdf), and executive summary (pdf) regarding the study.

Also covering the story are the AP (12/15, Stobbe), the Washington Post (12/15, Stein) "The Checkup" blog, HealthDay (12/15, Reinberg), Reuters (12/15, Beasley), BBC News (12/15), and MedPage Today (12/15, Walker).