Gathering statistics on human violence in America (as with violence around the world) is a perilous enterprise for a number of obvious and non-obvious reasons. Two being:
- Aside from categories that tend to result in medical treatment or death, it's not always clear to either victims or perpetrators what constitutes "violence." (To the extent that some perpetrators will confess to behavior their victims will decline to recognize or acknowledge violent!)
- Under-reporting of violence of all kinds, by perpetrators of all kinds, as recorded by law-enforcement and social scientists, is a giant, frustrating black hole of insufficient information. Oh, and a giant informational Rorschach Test on which people can project all their own personal agendas, biases, blind spots, and legitimate but difficult-to-support-because-the-data's-crap issues.
Today, with the House Republican engineered expiration of the not-entirely-well-named Violence Against Women Act, refining that evidence has just become a lot more difficult.
I say not entirely well-named because despite it having been written and passed (by mostly male legislators) with baked-in assumptions that only hetero women are victims of violence and that only hetero men are perpetrators in recent years it was becoming more inclusive.
But that was then. Until Jan 1, 2013, this was now: studies included information gathered about most intimate partner violence, about most intimate partner coercion, about most intimate partner sexual assault. About most intimate partner stalking. Not just women victims. Not just perpetrating men. Not just white people. Not enough, nearly, about trans people... but again until Jan. 1, it was starting to look like they were starting to get interested in that group as well.
Now! How do I know this? Well, I know it in part from a much-trumpeted but evidently poorly read executive summary of the CDC's The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary Report (pdf). Which, among other things, provided hard evidence that based on available information, see statistics-gathering problem #1, above the reservoir of probable victims of intimate partner violence is at least half again as large as prior studies assuming only female victims would lead us to believe. That there's a reservoir of at least 10% more perpetrators of sexual assault as prior studies assuming only male perpetrators would lead us to believe.
And in absolute terms those reservoirs of present and future violence, coercion, stalking, and assault problematic in terms of perpetuating further perpetration and victimization.
And in absolute terms those reservoirs are also a source of a critical and often more, well, violent violence: reciprocal violence. (John Bobbet was only the most lurid example of reciprocal violence -- there are plenty of instances where men or women badly injure or even kill partners who previously had physically, sexually, or psychologically assaulted. These instances are so routine they're rarely picked up at all by news outlets.)
But worse, in relative terms the failure to recognize those reservoirs actually keeps them even larger by making it difficult for an unknown but probably far larger number of victims and perpetrators to even recognize themselves, let alone to report themselves to law enforcement, let alone researchers. And thus the real number of victims and perpetrators will remain unreported. And large. And therefore perpetuated. And therefore more people are going to be coerced, stalked, assaulted, and all-round hurt.
Anyway, thanks to a bunch of snit-picking, feather-bedding, incompetence, and pure gender-bound vindictiveness House Republicans have made sure it'll be a heck of a lot harder to gather, compile, or disseminate the information that had heretofore begun to be made public, and made part of policy.
Anyway, here's an excerpt from that stereotype-challenging, gender-determinist-subverting, more-inclusive NISVS 2010 Report. Read it and, literally, weep. There might not be updates for a while.
Key Findings Sexual Violence by Any Perpetrator
- Nearly 1 in 5 women (18.3%) and 1 in 71 men (1.4%) in the United States have been raped at some time in their lives, including completed forced penetration, attempted forced penetration, or alcohol/drug facilitated completed penetration.
- More than half (51.1%) of female victims of rape reported being raped by an intimate partner and 40.8% by an acquaintance; for male victims, more than half (52.4%) reported being raped by an acquaintance and 15.1% by a stranger.
- Approximately 1 in 21 men (4.8%) reported that they were made to penetrate someone else during their lifetime; most men who were made to penetrate someone else reported that the perpetrator was either an intimate partner (44.8%) or an acquaintance (44.7%).
- An estimated 13% of women and 6% of men have experienced sexual coercion in their lifetime (i.e., unwanted sexual penetration after being pressured in a nonphysical way); and 27.2% of women and 11.7% of men have experienced unwanted sexual contact.
- Most female victims of completed rape (79.6%) experienced their first rape before the age of 25; 42.2% experienced their first completed rape before the age of 18 years.
- More than one-quarter of male victims of completed rape (27.8%) experienced their first rape when they were
Stalking Victimization by Any Perpetrator
- One in 6 women (16.2%) and 1 in 19 men (5.2%) in the United States have experienced stalking victimization at some point during their lifetime in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.
- Two-thirds (66.2%) of female victims of stalking were stalked by a current or former intimate partner; men were primarily stalked by an intimate partner or an acquaintance, 41.4% and 40.0%, respectively.
- Repeatedly receiving unwanted telephone calls, voice, or text messages was the most commonly experienced stalking tactic for both female and male victims of stalking (78.8% for women and 75.9% for men).
- More than half of female victims and more than one-third of male victims of stalking indicated that they were stalked before the age of 25; about 1 in 5 female victims and 1 in 14 male victims experienced stalking between the ages of 11 and 17.
Violence by an Intimate Partner
- More than 1 in 3 women (35.6%) and more than 1 in 4 men (28.5%) in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
- Among victims of intimate partner violence, more than 1 in 3 women experienced multiple forms of rape, stalking, or physical violence; 92.1% of male victims experienced physical violence alone, and 6.3% experienced physical violence and stalking.
- Nearly 1 in 10 women in the United States (9.4%) has been raped by an intimate partner in her lifetime, and an estimated 16.9% of women and 8.0% of men have experienced sexual violence other than rape by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime.
- About 1 in 4 women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner (e.g., hit with a fist or something hard, beaten, slammed against something) at some point in their lifetime.
- An estimated 10.7% of women and 2.1% of men have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime.
- Nearly half of all women and men in the United States have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime (48.4% and 48.8%, respectively).
- Most female and male victims of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner (69% of female victims; 53% of male victims) experienced some form of intimate partner violence for the first time before 25 years of age.
Impact of Violence by an Intimate Partner
Nearly 3 in 10 women and 1 in 10 men in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner and reported at least one impact related to experiencing these or other forms of violent behavior in the relationship (e.g., being fearful, concerned for safety, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, need for health care, injury, contacting a crisis hotline, need for housing services, need for victim’s advocate services, need for legal services, missed at least one day of work or school).
Violence Experienced by Race/ Ethnicity
- Approximately 1 in 5 Black (22.0%) and White (18.8%) non-Hispanic women, and 1 in 7 Hispanic women (14.6%) in the United States have experienced rape at some point in their lives. More than one-quarter of women (26.9%) who identified as American Indian or as Alaska Native and 1 in 3 women (33.5%) who identified as multiracial non-Hispanic reported rape victimization in their lifetime.
- One out of 59 White non-Hispanic men (1.7%) has experienced rape at some point in his life. Nearly one-third of multiracial non-Hispanic men (31.6%) and over one-quarter of Hispanic men (26.2%) reported sexual violence other than rape in their lifetimes.
- Approximately 1 in 3 multiracial non-Hispanic women (30.6%) and 1 in 4 American Indian or Alaska Native women (22.7%) reported being stalked during their lifetimes. One in 5 Black non-Hispanic women (19.6%), 1 in 6 White non-Hispanic women (16.0%), and 1 in 7 Hispanic women (15.2%) experienced stalking in their lifetimes.
- Approximately 1 in 17 Black non-Hispanic men (6.0%), and 1 in 20 White non-Hispanic men (5.1%) and Hispanic men (5.1%) in the United States experienced stalking in their lifetime.
- Approximately 4 out of every 10 women of non-Hispanic Black or American Indian or Alaska Native race/ethnicity (43.7% and 46.0%, respectively), and 1 in 2 multiracial non-Hispanic women (53.8%) have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
- Nearly half (45.3%) of American Indian or Alaska Native men and almost 4 out of every 10 Black and multiracial men (38.6% and 39.3%, respectively) experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime.
Number and Sex of Perpetrators
- Across all types of violence, the majority of both female and male victims reported experiencing violence from one perpetrator.
- Across all types of violence, the majority of female victims reported that their perpetrators were male.
- Male rape victims and male victims of non-contact unwanted sexual experiences reported predominantly male perpetrators. Nearly half of stalking victimizations against males were also perpetrated by males. Perpetrators of other forms of violence against males were mostly female.