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9 Things You Should Know About Intimate Partner Violence

The issue of intimate partner violence has been in the news recently after the National Football League suspended Ray Rice for hitting his finacee. A video from an elevator camera surfaced in which Rice is seen punching Janay Palmer in the face, knocking her unconscious. Rice and Palmer were wed the day after he was indicted on aggravated assault charges.

Here are nine things you should know about intimate partner violence.

1. The term “intimate partner violence” (IPV) describes physical, sexual or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse. This type of violence can occur across age, ethnic, gender and economic lines, among persons with disabilities, among both heterosexual and same-sex couples, and does not require sexual intimacy. IPV affects more than 12 million Americans each year.

2. In 48 population-based surveys from around the world, 10-69 percent of women reported being physically assaulted by an intimate male partner at some point in their lives. In large national studies, the range is between 10-34 percent. 

3. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 4 women (22.3 percent) have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner, while 1 in 7 men (14.0 percent) have experienced the same. Female victims frequently experienced multiple forms of IPV (i.e., rape, physical violence, stalking); male victims most often experienced physical violence.

4. Women who experienced rape or stalking by any perpetrator or physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime were more likely than women who did not experience these forms of violence to report having asthma, diabetes and irritable bowel syndrome. The percentage of women who consider their mental health to be poor is almost three times higher among women with a history of violence than among those without. Women with disabilities have a 40 percent greater risk of intimate partner violence, especially severe violence, than women without disabilities. Men and women who experienced these forms of violence were more likely to report frequent headaches, chronic pain, difficulty with sleeping, activity limitations, poor physical health and poor mental health than men and women who did not experience these forms of violence.

5. Most female victims of completed rape (78.7 percent) experienced their first rape before the age of 25, and almost half (40.4 percent) experienced their first rape before age 18 (28.3 percent between 11 and 17 years old and 12.1 percent at or before the age of 10). About 35 percent of women who were raped as minors also were raped as adults compared to 14 percent of women without an early rape history. More than a quarter of male victims of completed rape (28 percent) were first raped when they were 10 years old or younger.

6. Approximately 1 in 5 Black (22.0 percent) and White (18.8 percent) non-Hispanic women, and 1 in 7 Hispanic women (14.6 percent) in the United States have experienced rape at some point in their lives. More than one-quarter of women (26.9 percent) who identified as American Indian or as Alaska Native and 1 in 3 women (33.5 percent) who identified as multiracial non-Hispanic reported rape victimization in their lifetime. One out of 59 White non-Hispanic men (1.7 percent) has experienced rape at some point in his life. Nearly one-third of multiracial non-Hispanic men (31.6 percent) and over one-quarter of Hispanic men (26.2 percent) reported sexual violence other than rape in their lifetimes. Male rape victims and male victims of noncontact unwanted sexual experiences reported predominantly male perpetrators.

7. In 2002–2011, 8 percent of female intimate partner victimizations involved some form of sexual violence during the incident. About 4 percent of females and 8 percent of males who were victimized by an intimate partner were shot at, stabbed or hit with a weapon in 2002–2011.

8. Three fourths of all murder-suicides (74 percent) involved an intimate partner. Of these, 96 percent were women killed by their intimate partners. Interpersonal violence is the leading cause of female homicides and injury-related deaths during pregnancy. On average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends every day.

9. Adolescents and adults are often unaware that teens experience dating violence. In a nationwide survey, 9.4 percent of high school students report being hit, slapped or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend in the 12 months prior to the survey. About 1 in 5 women and nearly 1 in 7 men who ever experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner first experienced some form of partner violence between 11 and 17 years of age.