Violence In & Out of Relationships

Intimate partner and sexual violence and stalking rates high in the US

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Loving and being loved has nothing to do with violence. But physical and sexual violence in intimate relationships is still very common. 

A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released statistics on intimate partner violence, sexual violence and stalking rates in the United States.

A portion of the report showed that rates of stalking and violence were higher in lesbian, gay and bisexual groups than among the heterosexual population.

Researchers made recommendations for promoting healthy family environments to reduce future violence and for improving training for healthcare workers to support patient recovery from violence.

"Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE if you are experiencing partner violence. "

The CDC has released its data from The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS).

For the NISVS, 16,507 adult men and women in the US, aged 18 and older, were randomly selected by a telephone dialing system in 2010 and interviewed about sexual violence, stalking and intimate partner violence.

Incidence of rape was reported by 18 percent of women, with 51 percent of those women being raped by an intimate partner and 41 percent by a known acquaintance. A total of 42 percent of women said they were raped before turning 18 years of age.

Incidence of rape was reported by 1 percent of men, with 52 percent of those men being raped by a known acquaintance and 15 percent by a stranger. A total of 28 percent of men said they were raped before turning 11 years of age.

Sexual coercion, or being pressured to have unwanted sex in a nonphysical way, was reported by 13 percent of women and 6 percent of men.

A total of 16 percent of women and 5 percent of men reported having been the target of a stalker who made them fearful of harm.

A total of 24 percent of women and 14 percent of men reported they had experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner.

Based on sexual orientation, intimate partner violence, sexual violence and stalking was reported by:

  • 61 percent of bisexual women
  • 44 percent of lesbian women
  • 35 percent of heterosexual women
  • 37 percent of bisexual men
  • 26 percent of gay men
  • 29 percent of heterosexual men

Overall, the CDC estimates 24 people per minute, which totals 12 million people per year, experience physical violence, stalking or sexual violence by an intimate partner.

Major public health concerns associated with intimate partner and sexual violence included, but were not limited to: physical injury, headaches, trouble sleeping, depression, anxiety, suicide attempts, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), stomach trouble, substance abuse, sexually transmitted infections and gynecological and pregnancy complications.

“We know that violence affects everyone, regardless of sexual orientation. This report suggests that lesbians, gay men and bisexuals in this country suffer a heavy toll of sexual violence and stalking committed by an intimate partner. While intervening and providing services are important, prevention is equally critical,” said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden.

The CDC recommended prevention efforts start early and promote healthy, respectful and emotionally supportive relationships in family environments.

Early childhood interactions based on trust and respect would promote effective and non-violent communication in later romantic relationships.

In addition, the CDC recommended increased training for healthcare professionals to help people physically and psychologically recover from sexual violence.

This report was released in January on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
February 7, 2013
Last Updated:
February 11, 2013