Rape Prevention and Education (RPE) Program
Background of the Program
Sexual violence is a significant public health problem in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS), nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the United States have been raped at some time in their lives and nearly 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men have experienced other forms of sexual violence victimization in their lifetime (e.g., made to penetrate someone, sexual coercion, unwanted sexual contact and non-contact unwanted sexual experiences).1
Victimization often occurs for the first time before the age of 25 (e.g., 42% of female victims of rape in the U.S. report that they were first raped before the age of 18 and 37% report that they were first raped between the ages of 18-24).1 Victimization is also often by someone known to the victim, primarily by a current or former intimate partner or an acquaintance.1
Rape, and other forms of sexual violence, is preventable. Recognizing this, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act in 1994. This landmark legislation established the Rape Prevention and Education (RPE) program at CDC. The goal of the RPE program is to strengthen sexual violence prevention efforts at the local, state, and national level. It operates in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and six U.S. territories.
CDC's role in sexual violence prevention is unique; no other federal agency is working to advance the primary prevention of sexual violence—to prevent violence before it begins. By working to prevent sexual violence before it begins, RPE grantees have reached out to new audiences including coaches, boys and men, and the entertainment industry, and have developed innovative prevention strategies, which have spread across the country.
1. Black, M.C., Basile, K.C., Breiding, M.J., Smith, S.G., Walters, M.L., Merrick, M.T., Chen, J., & Stevens, M.R. (2011). The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Summary Report. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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