- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 4, 2014

An estimated 19 percent of women and 2 percent of men have been raped at some point in their lifetimes, typically by someone they knew, a new federal study says.

In addition, 44 percent of women and 23 percent of men say they have experienced some form of sexual violence.

As with earlier studies, the new findings show that women are “heavily impacted” by sexual violence during their lives, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Thursday in its report on intimate-partner violence.

However, new data also show that “many men experience sexual violence, stalking, and in particular, physical violence by an intimate partner,” said the report issued in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Numerically, the data translates into 23 million women and nearly 2 million men who have been raped in their lifetimes, while nearly 53 million women and 27 million men say they have experienced other kinds of sexual violence.

Most victims experienced their first victimization by age 25, including a “substantial proportion” who were harmed during childhood or adolescence, the CDC said.

According to the report, when women suffered sexual violence, almost all their aggressors were male — 99 percent of women’s rapists were men, as were 95 percent of the perpetrators of other sexual offenses.

For male victims, the story was different: For 79 percent of male rape victims, their aggressor was also male.

In contrast, “for three of the other forms of sexual violence, a majority of male victims had only female perpetrators,” said the report.

Regarding stalking — which was defined as being watched, followed, contacted against one’s wishes or showing up unwanted at a place of business, residence or school — the report said around 15 percent of women and nearly 6 percent of men reported being stalked in their lives.

For female victims, 88 percent said they had only male stalkers while 7 percent reported only female stalkers. For male victims, about 48 percent of their stalkers were other males while 45 percent were female.

Current or former intimate partners, acquaintances and family members were most often named as perpetrators, compared to strangers and “persons of authority,” such as coaches, teachers, clergy members or supervisors.

The CDC has been tracking “intimate partner violence” for years because of the public health burden associated with rape, violence and stalking. Its new data, from the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey for 2011, used data from telephone surveys of more than 12,000 adults.

• Cheryl Wetzstein can be reached at cwetzstein@washingtontimes.com.

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