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Nearly half the women surveyed by the CDC said they had experienced sexual violence in their lifetimes.

Charli Penn
Sep, 08, 2014

According to data released Friday by the Center For Disease Control (CDC), nearly 1 in 5 women in the U.S. is raped during her lifetime. And, another 15.2 of women (18.3 million) have been stalked in some way.

While about 19.3% of women have been raped at least once in their lives, about 2% of men have been raped during their lifetimes, according to the survey, which was conducted in 2011. The ages at which these women experienced sexual abuse or rape are just as alarming. A staggering 78.7% of female victims of "completed rape" (which is forced penetration and completed alcohol or drug-facilitated penetration) say they first experienced sexual violence before the age of 25 while 40.4 percent say it happened before the age of 18 and 38.3% say between ages 18-24.

According to the CDC, an estimated 15.2% of women and 5.7% of men have been a victim of stalking during their lifetimes and among female victims of stalking, an estimated 53.8% were first stalked before age 25 years, with an estimated 16.3% first experiencing this before the age of 18. The prevalence of stalking for Black women was an estimated 13.9%, respectively, with incidents among American Indian/Alaska Native women being the highest.

As we’ve been taught, women are most often raped or sexually assulated by someone they know and the statistics continue to support that. According to the CDC, an estimated 11.4% of multiracial women, 9.6% of non-Hispanic white women, 8.8% of Black women, and 6.2% of Hispanic women were raped by an intimate partner during their lifetimes Meanwhile, the case counts for men reporting rape by an intimate partner during their lifetimes were too small to produce statistically reliable estimates. In addition, 17.4% of Black women experienced sexual violence other than rape by an intimate partner.

The CDC believes that early awareness is the key to lowering these statistics. As a public health action, they’re recommending “the promotion of healthy relationship behaviors and other protective factors, with the goal of helping adolescents develop these positive behaviors before their first relationships.”

How do you protect yourself on dates or while traveling alone? And, how do you respond when a friend shares that they’ve been a victim of sexual violence within their relationship? Discuss below. For more results from this CDC survey or to read more analysis of the findings, click here.