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Millions of Americans Are Victims of Sexual Violence: CDC
Date:12/14/2011

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Every minute in the United States, 24 people are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner, according to an estimate from a new federal report.

According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12 million American women and men suffer some type of partner violence each year, with by far the biggest burden borne by women.

American women suffer more than 1 million rapes annually, the CDC report said, and almost one in every five women will be the victim of rape at some point in her life.

Men aren't immune from such victimization either, however, with one in seven experiencing intimate partner violence during their lifetime.

This is the first such report on sexual violence compiled by the CDC, and "the numbers from the first year of data collection are astounding," Linda Degutis, director of the agency's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, said during a press conference Wednesday. "Most of the victims first experienced this type of violence before they were 25 years old, often during their teenage years," she added.

"Sexual violence, stalking and intimate partner violence are widespread and an important public health problem in this country," Degutis said. "We know this even without knowing the true magnitude of this problem. Many victims do not report this type of violence to the police, friends, family, or health providers."

The effect on victims can be immediate, Degutis said. "Eighty-one percent of women and 37 percent of men who experienced rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner reported at least one impact of the violence, such as fear, concern for safety, post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, injury, missing at least one day of work or school and the need for medical care or other victim services," she noted.

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