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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 December 14 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’s efforts to combat domestic violence and sexual abuse. And the report underscores the importance of ourAdministration’s work to combat domestic violence and sexual assault.”
The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, or NISVS, is one of CDC’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.
“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′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’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.