NPR
Thursday, December 15, 2011
News National

CDC Survey Says Sexual Abuse and Assault More Prevalent Than Previously Thought

Sexual abuse and assault is more prevalent than previously thought, according to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sexual abuse and assault is more prevalent than previously thought, according to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report, released on Wednesday, titled “The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey,” was conducted over the last year and involved 16,507 adults nationwide.

One in five women said that they had been raped or experienced attempted rape. One in four said that they had been beaten by a partner. One in six had been stalked.

1.3 million American women might be victims of rape or attempted rape, according to the survey. That is higher than many experts had expected.

Although women are affected by sexual violence more often than men are, men are impacted as well. The survey says that one out of seven men has experienced violence at the hands of a partner, and one out of seventy-one has been raped, most of them when they were under the age of 11.

The survey also collected information about the physical and mental health effects of survivors. A vast majority had symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as physical ailments such as chronic pain.

The study also found that 35 percent of women who were raped as children or adolescents were also raped again as adults.

Julie Evans, director of Education and Training at Pittsburgh Action Against Rape, or PAAR, a non-profit rape crisis center, says that the numbers reported in the CDC Survey are alarming but not surprising based on what they see in their offices and in the community.

Unfortunately, our experience is that the survey is true,” she said. “Doing the work that we do in the community, those are the things that we see all of the time.”

In the last year, they have provided services to 2,505 survivors of abuse in the county.

All of the trends we see nationally, we see locally,” she said.

Evans says that since the Sandusky abuse scandal broke, they’ve had an increase in calls on two ends of the spectrum. They’ve had people who have experienced abuse wanting to talk about the experience and seeking counseling. They’ve also had schools and community groups contact them requesting prevention training.

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