CDC: Nearly 1 in 5 women have been raped

An estimated 19.3 percent of women have been raped at one point in their lives. That's according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which Friday released results from a 2011 survey.

Additionally, nearly 2 percent of men have been raped; nearly 44 percent of women and 23 percent of men have experienced some other form of sexual violence; and 15 percent of women and nearly 6 percent have men have been stalked.

Sexual violence other than rape includes sexual coercion, unwanted sexual contact and non-contact unwanted sexual experiences.

"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 CDC report notes. "Consistent with previous studies, the overall pattern of results suggest that women, in particular, are heavily impacted over their lifetime. However, the results also indicate that many men experience sexual violence, stalking, and, in particular, physical violence by an intimate partner."

Both men and women tended to be first victimized when they were young; 78 percent of female rape victims were first raped before they were 25, as were 71 percent of male rape victims.

Survey estimates show significant proportions of women of all races and ethnicities have reported being raped: 32.3 percent of multiracial women; 27.5 percent of Native American women; 21.2 percent of black women; 20.5 percent of white women; and 13.6 percent of Hispanic women.

The numbers are even higher when it comes to other forms of sexual violence; for instance, the majority of multiracial women -- 64 percent -- said they have been victims of sexual violence other than rape.

When it comes to who is committing these acts of violence, 99 percent of female rape victims and the vast majority of male rape victims -- almost 80 percent -- said they've only been raped by men. Women made up the majority of perpetrators of other forms of sexual violence against men.

Victims tend to know their perpetrators, whether they are partners or an acquaintance. Almost half of female and male rape victims have had at least one intimate partner rape them.

Although the response rate to the survey wasn't that high -- about 33 percent -- those who did respond overwhelmingly cooperated, and researchers worked to overcome any bias resulting from non-responses. Researchers also note that it's very likely that their results actually underestimated the prevalence of sexual violence in American society.

The survey took place over cellphones and landlines, with more than 12,000 completed interviews. This is the second National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey; the first was conducted in 2010, when 18.3 percent of women and 1.4 percent of men said they had been raped at some point in their lives. Many of the figures in this latest survey reflect what was found in the 2010 survey, when just over 16,000 interviews were completed.

This post has been updated.

Elahe Izadi is a general assignment national reporter for The Washington Post. She can be reached at elahe.izadi@washpost.com and on Twitter @ElaheIzadi.
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