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The New York Times has just published an article reporting on some key findings of a nation-wide survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States. The representative sample surveyed consisted of 16,507 adult respondents.

The study’s findings report that sexual assault is drastically more prevalent that previously thought. Whereas the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network reported last year that about 270,000 Americans had experienced sexual violence, the CDC’s findings suggest that 1.3 million women were raped in the past year alone. The study found that between 1 and 2 percent of men have been raped, often when they were under the age of 11. It found that nearly one in five women, almost 20 percent of the population, have experienced sexual assault.

Some other statistics from the report:

  • 28 percent of male victims of rape were first assaulted when they were 10 years old or younger
  • 12 percent of female rape victims were assaulted when they were 10 or younger; almost half of female victims were raped before they turned 18; about 80 percent of rape victims were raped before age 25
  • about 35 percent of women who had been raped as minors were also raped as adults
  • more than half of female rape victims had been raped by an intimate partner, and 40 percent had been raped by an acquaintance; more than half of men who had been raped said the assailant was an acquaintance

The article points to some of the mental and physical health problems correlated with having suffered sexual assault, such as increased chances of having post-traumatic stress disorder and diabetes.

The article also links to a page of detailed and professionally reviewed information on rape published by the New York Times.

This study, conducted by a respected and widely recognized public health agency, is invaluable in establishing the prevalence of sexual assault in the United States, and by extension, our society. Numbers such as these indicate that the problem is much more pervasive, and thus even more pressing concern to be addressed. In a world where information informs action, such studies take the first step and lead the way for more work to be done.

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