Nearly one in five U.S. women raped in lifetime: study

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 14, 2011 8:13 PM

By David Beasley

ATLANTA (Reuters) - Nearly 20 percent of women in the United States have been raped at least once and one in four has been severely attacked by an intimate partner, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Wednesday.

Almost 80 percent of female victims were first raped before age 25 and more than half were raped by a current or former partner, according to the CDC's analysis of data from the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey of 18,049 men and women in the United States in 2010.

The survey, which the CDC said was the first of its kind, found that one in eight female rape victims said the perpetrator was a family member.

Alaska, Oregon and Nevada had the highest percentage of women who had been raped, the study found.

One in seven men reported having experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner and one in 71 men said they had been raped at least once.

The report highlights numerous long-term health problems associated with sexual violence, including headaches, chronic pain and difficulty sleeping.

"This landmark report paints a clear picture of the devastating impact these violent acts have on the lives of millions of Americans," U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement.

The CDC numbers show rape "is still a crime that impacts almost every family in America," said Scott Berkowitz, president of the nonprofit group Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.

More victims need to report rape and more rapists need to go to prison, Berkowitz told Reuters.

"The more we can get off the street, the more crime we can prevent," he said.

(Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Jerry Norton)