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National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2015 Data Brief

Sharon G. Smith, Xinjian Zhang, Kathleen C. Basile, Melissa T. Merrick, Jing Wang, Marcie-jo Kresnow, Jieru Chen

Sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence are serious public health problems affecting millions of people in the United States each year. These forms of violence are associated with chronic physical and psychological adverse health conditions, and violence experienced as a child or adolescent is a risk factor for repeated victimization as an adult. First launched in 2010 by CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) is an ongoing, nationally representative survey that assesses sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence victimization among adult women and men in the United States.

This brief [1 MB, 32 Pages, 508] report presents the highlights from the 2015 data year of NISVS. Data tables are presented at the end of the report.

Sexual Violence

Sexual Violence: Four types of sexual violence are included in this brief report. These include rape, being made to penetrate someone else, sexual coercion, and unwanted sexual contact.

Rape: Any completed or attempted unwanted vaginal (for women), oral, or anal penetration through the use of physical force (such as being pinned or held down, or by the use of violence) or threats to physically harm and includes times when the victim was drunk, high, drugged, or passed out and unable to consent. Rape is separated into three types: completed forced penetration, attempted forced penetration, and completed alcohol- or drug-facilitated penetration. Among women, rape includes vaginal, oral, or anal penetration by a male using his penis. It also includes vaginal or anal penetration by a male or female using their fingers or an object. Among men, rape includes oral or anal penetration by a male using his penis. It also includes anal penetration by a male or female using their fingers or an object.

Being made to penetrate someone else: Includes times when the victim was made to, or there was an attempt to make them, sexually penetrate someone without the victim’s consent because the victim was physically forced (such as being pinned or held down, or by the use of violence) or threatened with physical harm, or when the victim was drunk, high, drugged, or passed out and unable to consent. Among women, this behavior reflects a female being made to orally penetrate another female’s vagina or anus or another male’s anus. Among men, being made to penetrate someone else could have occurred in multiple ways: being made to vaginally penetrate a female using one’s own penis; orally penetrating a female’s vagina or anus; anally penetrating a male or female; or being made to receive oral sex from a male or female. It also includes male and female perpetrators attempting to force male victims to penetrate them, though it did not happen.

Sexual coercion: Unwanted sexual penetration that occurs after a person is pressured in a nonphysical way. In NISVS, sexual coercion refers to unwanted vaginal, oral, or anal sex after being pressured in ways that included being worn down by someone who repeatedly asked for sex or showed they were unhappy; feeling pressured by being lied to, being told promises that were untrue, having someone threaten to end a relationship or spread rumors; and sexual pressure due to someone using their influence or authority.

Unwanted sexual contact:  Unwanted sexual experiences involving touch but not sexual penetration, such as being kissed in a sexual way, or having sexual body parts fondled, groped, or grabbed.

Contact sexual violence:  Combined measure that includes rape, being made to penetrate someone else, sexual coercion, and/or unwanted sexual contact.


1 in 5 women experienced completed or attempted rape during her lifetime.  1 in 14 men was made to penetrate someone (completed or attempted) during his lifetime.

Women

Figure 1 is a bar graph depicting the lifetime prevalence of sexual violence victimization for U.S. women. 43.6% experienced contact sexual violence.

click to enlarge

  • In the U.S., 43.6% of women (nearly 52.2 million) experienced some form of contact sexual violence in their lifetime (Figure 1), with 4.7% of women experiencing this violence in the 12 months preceding the survey (Table 1).
  • Approximately 1 in 5 (21.3% or an estimated 25.5 million) women in the U.S. reported completed or attempted rape at some point in their lifetime.
    • About 13.5% of women experienced completed forced penetration, 6.3% experienced attempted forced penetration, and 11.0% experienced completed alcohol/drug-facilitated penetration at some point in their lifetime.
  • In the U.S., 1.2% of women (approximately 1.5 million) reported completed or attempted rape in the 12 months preceding the survey.
  • Approximately 1.2% of women (nearly 1.4 million) have been made to penetrate someone else in their lifetime.
  • Approximately 1 in 6 women (16.1% or an estimated 19.2 million women) experienced sexual coercion (e.g., being worn down by someone who repeatedly asked for sex, sexual pressure due to someone using their influence or authority) at some point in their lifetime.
  • More than a third of women (37.1% or approximately 44.3 million women) reported unwanted sexual contact (e.g., groping) in their lifetime.

Men

Figure 2 is a bar graph depicting the lifetime prevalence of sexual violence victimization for U.S. men. 24.8% experienced contact sexual violence. 2.6% experienced completed or attempted rape. 7.1% were made to penetrate someone else. 9.6% experienced sexual coercion.  17.9% experienced unwanted sexual contact.  All percentages are weighted to the U.S. population.

click to enlarge

  • Nearly a quarter of men (24.8% or 27.6 million) in the U.S. experienced some form of contact sexual violence in their lifetime (Figure 2), with 3.0% of men experiencing contact sexual violence in the 12 months preceding the survey (Table 2).
  • About 1 in 14 men (7.1% or nearly 7.9 million) in the U.S. was made to penetrate someone else (attempted or completed) at some point in their lifetime.
    • Approximately 1.6% of men were made to penetrate through completed forced penetration, 1.4% experienced situations where attempts were made to make them penetrate someone else through use of force, and 5.5% were made to penetrate someone else through completed alcohol/drug facilitation at some point in their lifetime.
  • In the U.S., 0.7% of men (an estimated 827,000 men) reported being made to penetrate (attempted or completed) in the 12 months preceding the survey.
  • About 2.6% of U.S. men (an estimated 2.8 million) experienced completed or attempted rape victimization in their lifetime.
  • Approximately 1 in 10 men (9.6% or an estimated 10.6 million men) experienced sexual coercion (e.g., being worn down by someone who repeatedly asked for sex, sexual pressure due to someone using their influence or authority) in their lifetime.
  • Almost one fifth of men (17.9% or approximately 19.9 million men) reported unwanted sexual contact (e.g., groping) at some point in their lifetime.
Figure 3 is a pie chart showing age at the time of the first completed or attempted rape victimization in the lifetime among female victims in the U.S.

click to enlarge

Age at First Completed or Attempted Rape and Made to Penetrate

Females

  • A majority of female victims of completed or attempted rape first experienced such victimization early in life, with 81.3% (nearly 20.8 million victims) reporting that it first occurred prior to age 25 (Table 3).
  • Among female victims of completed or attempted rape, 43.2% (an estimated 11.0 million victims) reported that it first occurred prior to age 18, with 30.5% (about 7.8 million victims) reporting that their first victimization occurred between the ages of 11 and 17, and 12.7% (an estimated 3.2 million victims) at age 10 or younger (Figure 3).

Males

  • The majority of male victims (70.8% or an estimated 2.0 million) of completed or attempted rape reported that their first experience occurred prior to age 25 (Table 4).
    Figure 4 is a pie chart showing age at the time of the first completed or attempted rape victimization in the lifetime among male victims in the U.S.

    click to enlarge

  • Among male victims of completed or attempted rape, 51.3% (about 1.5 million victims) first experienced such victimization prior to age 18, with 25.3% (718,000 victims) reporting that their first victimization occurred between the ages of 11 and 17 and 26.0% (738,000 victims) at age 10 or younger.
  • The majority (65.5% or nearly 5.2 million) of male victims who were made to penetrate someone else (completed or attempted) first experienced this victimization before age 25.
  • About a quarter of male victims (25.9%, or an estimated 2.0 million victims) of completed or attempted made to penetrate reported that their first victimization occurred before the age of 18, with 19.2% (1.5 million victims) reporting that it first occurred between the ages of 11 and 17 (Figure 4).

Stalking

Stalking victimization involves a pattern of harassing or threatening tactics used by a perpetrator that is both unwanted and causes fear or safety concerns in the victim. For the purposes of this report, a person was considered a stalking victim if they experienced multiple stalking tactics or a single stalking tactic multiple times by the same perpetrator and felt very fearful, or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed as a result of the perpetrator’s behavior.

Stalking tactics measured:

  • Unwanted phone calls, voice or text messages, hang-ups
  • Unwanted emails, instant messages, messages through social media
  • Unwanted cards, letters, flowers, or presents
  • Watching or following from a distance, spying with a listening device, camera, or global positioning system (GPS)
  • Approaching or showing up in places, such as the victim’s home, workplace, or school when it was unwanted
  • Leaving strange or potentially threatening items for the victim to find
  • Sneaking into victim’s home or car and doing things to scare the victim or let the victim know the perpetrator had been there

In follow-up questions, respondents who were identified as possible stalking victims were asked about their experiences of two additional tactics:

  • Damaged personal property or belongings, such as in their home or car
  • Made threats of physical harm

Millions of women and men have been stalked at some point in their lifetime.

Figure 5 provides lifetime and 12-month estimates of stalking victims for women and men.

click to enlarge

Women

  • Nearly 1 in 6 women (16.0%, or 19.1 million) in the U.S. were victims of stalking at some point in their lifetime, during which she felt very fearful or believed that she or someone close to her would be harmed or killed (Figure 5, Table 5).
  • An estimated 3.5% (over 4.1 million) of U.S. women were victims of stalking in the 12 months preceding the survey.

Men

    • About 1 in 17 (5.8% or 6.4 million) men in the U.S. were victims of stalking at some point in their lifetime, during which he felt very fearful or believed that he or someone close to him would be harmed or killed (Figure 5, Table 6).
Figure 6 is a pie chart showing age at the time of the first stalking victimization in the lifetime among female victims in the U.S.

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  • An estimated 1.7% (nearly 1.9 million) of U.S. men were victims of stalking in the 12 months preceding the survey.

Age at First Stalking

Females

    • Over half of female stalking victims reported that such victimization first occurred before the age of 25 (54.1% or about 10.4 million victims) including 21.2% who were first stalked before age 18 (Table 7).
    • An estimated 44.5% of female stalking victims (or 8.5 million victims) were first victimized at age 25 or older (Figure 6).

Males

  • Nearly 41% of male victims first experienced stalking before age 25 (40.5% or approximately 2.6 million victims) including 12.9% who were first stalked prior to age 18 (Table 8).
    Figure 7 is a pie chart showing age at the time of the first stalking victimization in the lifetime among male victims in the U.S.

    click to enlarge

  • Over half of male victims (58.8% or nearly 3.8 million victims) reported that their first stalking experience began at age 25 or older (Figure 7).

Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV): Four types of intimate partner violence are included in this report. These include sexual violence, stalking, physical violence, and psychological aggression. In NISVS, an intimate partner is described as a romantic or sexual partner and includes spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, people with whom they dated, were seeing, or “hooked up.”

Sexual violence:  includes rape, being made to penetrate someone else, sexual coercion, and unwanted sexual contact. Contact sexual violence is a combined measure that includes rape, being made to penetrate someone else, sexual coercion, and/or unwanted sexual contact.

Stalking:  Stalking victimization involves a pattern of harassing or threatening tactics used by a perpetrator that is both unwanted and causes fear or safety concerns in the victim.

Physical violence includes a range of behaviors from slapping, pushing or shoving to severe acts that include hit with a fist or something hard, kicked, hurt by pulling hair, slammed against something, tried to hurt by choking or suffocating, beaten, burned on purpose, used a knife or gun.

Psychological aggression: includes expressive aggression (such as name calling, insulting or humiliating an intimate partner) and coercive control, which includes behaviors that are intended to monitor and control or threaten an intimate partner.

Intimate partner violence-related impact:  Includes experiencing any of the following: being fearful, concerned for safety, injury, need for medical care, needed help from law enforcement, missed at least one day of work, missed at least one day of school. The following impacts were also included in the lifetime estimate only: any post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, need for housing services, need for victim advocate services, need for legal services and contacting a crisis hotline. Intimate partner violence-related impact questions were assessed among victims of contact sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner either during the lifetime or in the last 12 months. The impacts were assessed for specific perpetrators and asked in relation to any form of intimate partner violence experienced in that relationship.  By definition, all stalking victimizations result in impact because the definition of stalking requires the experience of fear or concern for safety. Because violent acts often do not occur in isolation and are frequently experienced in the context of other violence committed by the same perpetrator, questions regarding the impact of the violence were asked in relation to all forms of intimate partner violence experienced (sexual violence, physical violence, stalking, psychological aggression) by the perpetrator in that relationship.


About 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner and reported an IPV-related impact during their lifetime.

 

Figure 8 shows the lifetime prevalence of contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking victimization by an intimate partner among U.S.

click to enlarge

Women

  • In the U.S., over 1 in 3 (36.4% or 43.6 million) women experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime (Figure 8).
  • About 1 in 4 women (24.4% or 29.2 million) in the U.S. experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime and reported some form of IPV-related impact (Table 9).
  • Regarding specific subtypes of intimate partner violence, about 18.3% of women experienced contact sexual violence, 30.6% experienced physical violence (21.4% experienced severe physical violence), and 10.4% experienced stalking during their lifetime.
    Figure 9 shows the lifetime prevalence of contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking victimization by an intimate partner among U.S.

    click to enlarge

  • An estimated 1 in 18 (5.4% or 6.5 million) women in the U.S. experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner during the 12 months preceding the survey.
  • Over one-third of women (36.4% or 43.5 million) experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner during their lifetime (Table 10).

Men

  • In the U.S., about 1 in 3 (33.3% or 37.2 million) men experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime (Figure 9).
  • Nearly 1 in 10 (10.6% or 11.8 million) men in the U.S. experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime and reported some form of IPV-related impact (Table 11).
  • Regarding specific subtypes of intimate partner violence, 8.2% of men experienced contact sexual violence, 31.0% experienced physical violence (14.9% experienced severe physical violence), and 2.2% experienced stalking during their lifetime.
    Figure 10 is a pie chart showing age at the time of the first intimate partner violence among female victims of lifetime contact sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner.

    click to enlarge

  • About 1 in 20 (5.1% or 5.7 million) men in the U.S. experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner during the 12 months preceding the survey.
  • Over one-third of men (34.3% or 38.4 million) experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner during their lifetime (Table 12).

Age at First Contact Sexual Violence, Physical Violence, and/or Stalking by an Intimate Partner

Females

  • The majority of women who were victims of contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner first experienced these or other forms of violence by that partner before age 25 (71.1% or nearly 31.0 million victims), and 1 in 4 female victims (25.8% or about 11.3 million victims) first experienced intimate partner violence prior to age 18 (Figure 10, Table 13).
    Figure 11 is a pie chart showing age at the time of the first intimate partner violence among male victims of lifetime contact sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner.

    click to enlarge

Males

  • Over half of men who were victims of contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner first experienced these or other forms of violence by that partner before age 25 (55.8% or 20.8 million victims), and 14.6% of male victims (5.4 million victims) first experienced intimate partner violence prior to age 18 (Figure 11, Table 14).

Summary

This report presents the prevalence of sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence among adults and their age at first victimization.  In the United States, the experience of sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence is far too common, with millions of people reporting victimization during their lifetime. Both women and men experience these forms of violence, but a greater number of women experienced several types of violence examined. For instance, during their lifetime, 1 in 5 women experienced completed or attempted rape; 1 in 6 women were stalked; and 1 in 4 experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner and reported some form of intimate partner violence-related impact.  Results indicate that many males are also experiencing these forms of violence.  For example, during their lifetime, 1 in 14 men were made to sexually penetrate someone else; 1 in 17 men were stalked; and 1 in 10 experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner and reported some form of intimate partner violence-related impact.  Furthermore, findings indicate that these forms of violence often begin early in life for both women and men.  Across the majority of violence types measured, most first time victimization occurred prior to age 25, and many victims first experienced violence before age 18.

Sexual violence, stalking and intimate partner violence are serious public health problems that begin early in life and are preventable. Primary prevention of violence benefits from a comprehensive, multi-sectored approach that starts early in the lifespan.  CDC has published technical packages for sexual violence, intimate partner violence, child abuse and neglect, youth violence and suicide prevention to assist communities and states in prioritizing prevention efforts. These technical packages describe prevention strategies based on the best available evidence. All of the technical packages are available here.  As described in the technical packages, it is important that prevention efforts address different levels of the social ecology (i.e., individual, relationship, community, and society) and emphasize the primary prevention of perpetration of these forms of violence (i.e., preventing the violence before it happens) to reduce future risk and the many costs associated with violence.  NISVS serves as an important element of the prevention process by providing data that can be used to describe the burden of sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence; these data can be used to inform public health action and response.

Limitations

The findings in this brief report are subject to a few limitations. First, random-digit-dial telephone surveys have unique challenges that may affect the representativeness of the sample, such as declining response rates and possible non-response bias. For 2015, the response rate was fairly low (26.4%) but the cooperation rate was very high (89.6%), meaning that once contact was made with selected adults and eligibility was confirmed, they usually agreed to participate in the survey. Efforts were made to reduce the potential of non-response bias and undercoverage. Specifically, in addition to utilizing both landline and cell-phone sampling frames, a non-response follow-up phase was conducted with randomly selected non-respondents in which participants were offered an increased incentive. Second, NISVS is designed as a household survey and does not reach populations such as those who are institutionalized or residing in healthcare facilities, shelters, military bases, etc. Third, estimates presented in this report are likely to be underestimates of the true prevalence. Although NISVS questions cover a range of victimization experiences, it is not possible to include all types of victimization. Additionally, some participants might not be comfortable disclosing their experiences to an interviewer due to stigma, ongoing trauma, or safety concerns (especially if currently involved in a violent relationship). Fourth, self-report data are vulnerable to recall bias and telescoping, in which respondents report incidents as having occurred closer in time than they actually did; such bias might affect 12-month estimates especially. However, allowing the respondent to report their lifetime victimization is likely to reduce the potential for telescoping. Fifth, the intimate partner violence impact questions were designed to capture the context of the victimization with specific perpetrators; therefore, the impacts of specific types of violence cannot be assessed. Finally, the age at first victimization was asked in relation to the perpetrator (i.e., the first time violence occurred with the specific perpetrator), thus it was not always possible to determine the age at first victimization for specific types of violence, especially when multiple forms of violence were committed by the same perpetrator.

We urge readers to exercise caution when comparing estimates to previous NISVS years or other population-based data sources for two reasons.  First, there are differences in the NISVS survey instruments across data years, and these differences could impact the prevalence estimates. For example, the measurement of the 12-month IPV-related impact was revised in 2015 to capture impact that occurred during the past 12 months. In the previously published reports, estimates of victimization captured experiences occurring in the past 12 months but the impact could have happened at any point in that relationship and was not limited to the past 12 months.  Second, there are differences in the methodology between NISVS and other surveys, such as the sampling design, the language and terminology used, and the context in which the victimization questions are presented to respondents.  NISVS uses a variety of techniques to increase respondent comfort and disclosure of their experiences, such as a graduated informed consent process, a safety plan, and the use of interviewers who are trained in administering surveys of sensitive topics. These are described in more detail in the 2010 Summary Report [4.27MB, 124Pages, 508].

Despite these limitations, population-based public health surveys using numerous behaviorally specific questions continue to be an important source of information on sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence, in part because they can capture victimization that may not be viewed as a crime by the victim, or may not require health care treatment. Numerous behaviorally specific questions are important to adequately measure these complex forms of violence and to enable the interviewer to build rapport and trust with the respondent.

Methods

The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) is an ongoing, nationally representative random-digit-dial (RDD) telephone survey of sexual violence, intimate partner violence, and stalking among adult women and men in the United States. Noninstitutionalized English- and/or Spanish-speaking persons aged 18 years and older are surveyed using a dual-frame strategy that includes landline and cell phones.  Surveys are conducted in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The estimates presented in this brief report are based on a total of 10,081 completed interviews conducted between April and September 2015. Interviews were completed by 5,758 women and 4,323 men; 32% of the interviews were conducted by landline and 68% by cell phone.  The overall weighted response rate was 26.4% (AAPOR RR4) with a weighted cooperation rate (AAPOR COOP4, AAPOR, 2015) of 89.6%. The NISVS 2015 survey followed the same methodology as in earlier years with the following exceptions:

  1. Elimination of State-specific estimates:  Due to the reduced target sample size, the data collection effort for NISVS 2015 was not designed to produce state-specific estimates; therefore, state-level stratification of the sample was not included in the 2015 sampling. This approach led to the elimination of under- or oversampling of states.
  2. Use of a two-part sampling approach for cell phone numbers.  Once sampled from the cell phone frame an activity code (“Active” vs. “Inactive/Unknown” working status) was appended to each telephone number sampled from the cell phone frame. Cellular numbers flagged as “Active,” were dialed at 100%, whereas others were subsampled at a rate aimed to achieve a balance between statistical and cost efficiencies. This approach limited the effort placed on dialing numbers that may not be active.
  3. Increased Phase-2 calls.  The call protocol was revised to shorten the Phase-1 number of calls while increasing the number of calls for Phase-2 (initial non-respondent subsampling phase), where a higher incentive was offered in an effort to obtain interviews from those initially reluctant to respond who might differ from early responders.

These changes in the sampling design for 2015 necessitated corresponding changes to the weighting methodology. These included (a) the elimination of unequal selection probability adjustment for states, and (b) an additional adjustment step to account for the double sampling approach used in the cellular frame.  Other changes included the elimination of a propensity score method to adjust for nonresponse bias, a different method (Hartley, 1962) to combine the overlapping dual frame samples to form a national sample, and the inclusion of additional calibration dimensions (marital status, education, and Census division in addition to sex, age, and race/ethnicity). Additional methodological information about the sampling strategy and weighting for the earlier years can be found in the NISVS State Report 2010-2012 (Smith et al., 2017)[4.32MB, 272Pages, 508]

As NISVS 2015 is a complex sample survey, sampling weights are needed in statistical analyses in order to make inferences to the U.S. adult population. Prevalence estimates, produced separately for males and females, were derived by calculating the weighted percentage of victims among the respective subpopulations. Because some respondents were missing age at first victimization data for selected types of violence victimization, the percent distribution of victims by age at first may not sum to 100% for some forms of violence. All victims are included in the denominator without regard to age at first information, but victims with missing age at first victimization are not included in the estimated percentage of age at first victimization. For each estimated percentage, the number of victims in the population was also computed, along with 95% confidence intervals for each. All analyses were conducted using SUDAAN (version 11.01, Research Triangle Institute, 2013) statistical software to account for the various sample design features. For every estimate in this report, two statistical reliability criteria were considered jointly: the relative standard error (RSE), which is a measure of an estimate’s statistical reliability, and the victim count for each form of violence. For any given estimate, if the RSE was greater than 30% or the victim count was 20 or less, the estimate was not reported. Matters that could influence the width of a confidence interval may include the sample size, the confidence level desired, and the variability of the sample data. A relatively narrower confidence interval may be indicative of a less varied estimate whereas a wider confidence interval may be due to a small sample size or reflect a larger variability in the data, given the same level of confidence.

The survey instrument utilizes behaviorally specific questions to assess victimization of sexual violence, intimate partner violence, and stalking during the lifetime and 12 months prior to taking the survey.  The survey development process is described more fully in the 2010 Summary Report (Black et al., 2011)[4.27MB, 124Pages, 508].  A detailed description and list of the victimization questions from the survey are included in the NISVS State Report 2010-2012 (Smith et al., 2017)[4.32MB, 272Pages, 508].

The 2015 instrument included some modifications to the sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence questions.  First, the questions about unwanted sexual experiences that did not involve physical contact (i.e., noncontact unwanted sexual experiences) were removed.  Second, the script introducing the stalking items was revised to include additional perpetrator examples (i.e., friend, teacher, co-worker, or supervisor, family member).  Third, the script introducing the alcohol/drug-facilitated rape and made to penetrate items was reworded to say: “When you were unable to consent because you were too drunk, high, drugged, or passed out, how many people ever…?” Fourth, the psychological aggression items were reduced to the following five items:  insulted, humiliated, or made fun of you in front of others; kept you from having your own money; tried to keep you from seeing or talking to your family or friends; kept track of you by demanding to know where you were and what you were doing; and made threats to physically harm you. Additionally, the perpetrator follow-up questions (i.e., collecting initials and specific perpetrator information) were removed for the psychological aggression items only. Furthermore, while not specifically described in this report, the following additional changes were made to the IPV impact section of the survey:  3 injury items were added to increase specificity (injury to any ligaments, muscles, or tendons; back or neck injury; and head injury) and were asked of respondents who reported having experienced injury; distinct questions were created for having missed at least one day of work or school (these items were previously combined into one question); 7 questions were added that specifically assessed 12-month impact, in addition to lifetime impact, for the following impacts: being fearful, concerned for safety, injury, need for medical care, needed help from law enforcement, missed at least one day of work, and missed at least one day of school. Readers should be aware that this revision to the measurement of the 12-month IPV-related impact changes the interpretation of this construct from that of previous years. In previous NISVS reports, while estimates of victimization captured experiences that occurred during the previous 12 months, the IPV-related impact could have occurred at any point in the relationship and was not limited to the past 12 months. However, in the current measurement, 12-month IPV-related impact refers to the subset of impacts that did occur during the past 12 months. Finally, other changes were made to sections of the survey that are not used in this report.

References

American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR). (2015). Standard definitions: Final dispositions of case codes and outcome rates for surveys (8th ed)[802KB, 71Pages, Print Only].

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[4.27MB, 124Pages, 508].

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017, June 13). Technical Packages for Violence Prevention: Using Evidence-based Strategies in Your Violence Prevention Efforts.

Hartley, H. (1962). Multiple frame surveys. In Proceedings of the Social Statistics Section. Minneapolis, MN: American Statistical Association, 203–206.

Smith, S.G., Chen, J., Basile, K.C., Gilbert, L., Merrick, M.T., Patel, N., Walling, M., & Jain, A. (2017). The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010-2012 State Report. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention[4.32MB, 272Pages, 508].

Tables

Lifetime and 12-month Prevalence of Sexual Violence Victimization ̶ U.S. Women, NISVS 2015

Table 1. Lifetime and 12-month Prevalence of Sexual Violence Victimization  ̶  U.S. Women, NISVS 2015

  Lifetime 12-Month
Weighted % 95% CI Estimated
Number of
Victims*
Weighted % 95% CI Estimated
Number of
Victims*
Contact sexual violence1 43.6 (41.9, 45.2) 52,192,000 4.7 (4.0, 5.4) 5,600,000
Rape 21.3 (20.0, 22.7) 25,529,000 1.2 (0.9, 1.7) 1,484,000
Completed or attempted
forced penetration
16.0 (14.8, 17.2) 19,142,000 0.6 (0.4, 1.0) 719,000
Completed forced penetration 13.5 (12.4, 14.7) 16,169,000 0.4 (0.2, 0.8) 517,000
Attempted forced penetration 6.3 (5.6, 7.2) 7,568,000
Completed alcohol/
drug-facilitated penetration
11.0 (10.0, 12.1) 13,185,000 0.9 (0.6, 1.3) 1,026,000
Made to penetrate 1.2 (0.8, 1.6) 1,398,000
Sexual coercion 16.1 (14.9, 17.3) 19,194,000 2.4 (2.0, 3.0) 2,899,000
Unwanted sexual contact 37.1 (35.5, 38.7) 44,349,000 2.7 (2.2, 3.3) 3,260,000

Abbreviation:  CI = confidence interval.
1Contact sexual violence includes rape, being made to penetrate someone else, sexual coercion, and/or unwanted sexual contact.
*Rounded to the nearest thousand.
–Estimate not reported; relative standard error > 30% or cell size ≤ 20.

Lifetime and 12-month Prevalence of Sexual Violence Victimization ̶ U.S. Men, NISVS 2015

Table 2. Lifetime and 12-month Prevalence of Sexual Violence Victimization  ̶  U.S. Men, NISVS 2015

Lifetime 12-Month
Weighted % 95% CI Estimated
Number of
Victims*
Weighted % 95% CI Estimated
Number of
Victims*
Contact sexual violence1 24.8 (23.2, 26.5) 27,608,000 3.0 (2.9, 4.3) 3,916,000
Rape 2.6 (2.0, 3.2) 2,839,000
Completed or attempted
forced penetration
1.4 (1.0, 1.9) 1,526,000
Completed forced penetration 0.8 (0.6, 1.3) 943,000
Attempted forced penetration 0.5 (0.3, 0.8) 583,000
Completed alcohol/
drug-facilitated penetration
1.6 (1.2, 2.2) 1,772,000
Made to penetrate 7.1 (6.2, 8.1) 7,876,000 0.7 (0.5, 1.1) 827,000
Made to penetrate –
completed or attempted forced
2.7 (2.2, 3.4) 2,992,000
Made to penetrate –
completed forced penetration
1.6 (1.2, 2.2) 1,826,000
Made to penetrate –
attempted forced penetration
1.4 (1.1, 1.9) 1,576,000
Made to penetrate –
completed alcohol/
drug-facilitated
5.5 (4.7, 6.4) 6,089,000 0.6 (0.4, 1.0) 648,000
Sexual coercion 9.6 (8.5, 10.7) 10,644,000 1.6 (1.2, 2.1) 1,769,000
Unwanted sexual contact 17.9 (16.5, 19.4) 19,883,000 2.0 (1.5, 2.5) 2,188,000

Abbreviation:  CI = confidence interval.
1Contact sexual violence includes rape, being made to penetrate someone else, sexual coercion, and/or unwanted sexual contact.
*Rounded to the nearest thousand.
–Estimate not reported; relative standard error > 30% or cell size ≤ 20.

Age at Time of First Completed or Attempted Rape Victimization Among Female Victims ̶ NISVS 20151

Table 3. Age at Time of First Completed or Attempted Rape Victimization Among Female Victims  ̶  NISVS 20151

Age Group Weighted % 95% CI Estimated Number of Victims*
Under 18 43.2 (39.7, 46.8) 11,027,000
10 and under 12.7 (10.4, 15.3) 3,232,000
11 to 17 30.5 (27.3, 33.9) 7,794,000
Under 25 81.3 (78.3, 83.9) 20,752,000
18 to 24 38.1 (34.7, 41.6) 9,725,000
25 and older 17.5 (14.9, 20.4) 4,462,000
25 to 34 12.4 (10.1, 15.0) 3,154,000
35 to 44 3.5 (2.5, 5.0) 905,000
45 and older 1.6 (1.0, 2.6) 404,000

Abbreviation:  CI = confidence interval.
1A small subset of victims of completed or attempted rape could have also experienced completed or attempted being made to penetrate
by the same perpetrator, and the age at first could reflect those experiences.
*Rounded to the nearest thousand.

Age at Time of First Rape and Made to Penetrate Victimization Among Male Victims ̶ NISVS 20151,2

Table 4. Age at Time of First Rape and Made to Penetrate Victimization Among Male Victims  ̶  NISVS 20151,2

  Rape (completed or attempted)1 Made to Penetrate (completed or attempted)2
Age Group Weighted % 95% CI Estimated
Number of
Victims*
Weighted % 95% CI Estimated
Number of
Victims*
Under 18 51.3 (39.5, 62.9) 1,456,000 25.9 (20.3, 32.3) 2,039,000
10 and under 26.0 (16.5, 38.4) 738,000
11 to 17 25.3 (16.1, 37.3) 718,000 19.2 (14.5, 25.0) 1,515,000
Under 25 70.8 (59.2, 80.3) 2,011,000 65.5 (58.5, 72.0) 5,163,000
 18 to 24 19.6 (12.4, 29.4) 555,000 39.7 (33.2, 46.6) 3,124,000
25 and older 25.1 (16.3, 36.5) 713,000 32.1 (25.8, 39.1) 2,529,000
25 to 34 16.6 (12.0, 22.5) 1,307,000
35 to 44 10.4 (6.6, 16.0) 816,000
45 and older

Abbreviation:  CI = confidence interval.
1 A small subset of victims of completed or attempted rape could have also experienced completed or attempted made to penetrate by the same perpetrator, and the age at first could reflect those experiences.
2A small subset of victims of completed or attempted made to penetrate could have also experienced completed or attempted rape by the same perpetrator, and the age at first could reflect those experiences.
*Rounded to the nearest thousand.
–Estimate is not reported; relative standard error > 30% or cell size ≤ 20.

Lifetime and 12-month Prevalence of Stalking Victimization ̶ U.S. Men, NISVS 20151

Table 5. Lifetime and 12-month Prevalence of Stalking Victimization  ̶  U.S. Women, NISVS 20151

Lifetime 12-Month
Weighted % 95% CI Estimated Number of Victims* Weighted % 95% CI Estimated Number of Victims*
Stalking 16.0 (14.8, 17.2) 19,145,000 3.5 (2.9, 4.2) 4,159,000

Abbreviation:  CI = confidence interval.
1Using a less conservative definition of stalking, which considers any amount of fear (i.e., a little fearful, somewhat fearful, or very fearful), 21.6% of women (25,812,000) were victims of stalking in their lifetime, and 4.6% (5,530,000) experienced stalking in the 12 months preceding the survey.
*Rounded to the nearest thousand.

Lifetime and 12-month Prevalence of Stalking Victimization ̶ U.S. Men, NISVS 20151

Table 6. Lifetime and 12-month Prevalence of Stalking Victimization  ̶  U.S. Men, NISVS 20151

Lifetime 12-Month
Weighted % 95% CI Estimated Number of Victims* Weighted % 95% CI Estimated Number of Victims*
Stalking 5.8 (4.9, 6.7) 6,408,000 1.7 (1.2, 2.3) 1,892,000

Abbreviation:  CI = confidence interval.
1Using a less conservative definition of stalking, which considers any amount of fear (i.e., a little fearful, somewhat fearful, or very fearful), 7.8% of men (8,727,000) were victims of stalking in their lifetime, and 2.3% (2,598,000) experienced stalking in the 12 months preceding the survey.
*Rounded to the nearest thousand.

Age at Time of First Stalking Victimization Among Female Victims ̶ NISVS 2015

Table 7. Age at Time of First Stalking Victimization Among Female Victims  ̶  NISVS 2015

Age Group Weighted % 95% CI Estimated Number of Victims*
Under 18 21.2 (18.0, 24.9) 4,065,000
10 and under
11 to 17 20.3 (17.1, 24.0) 3,895,000
Under 25 54.1 (49.9, 58.2) 10,356,000
18 to 24 32.9 (29.1, 36.9) 6,291,000
25 and older 44.5 (40.4, 48.7) 8,524,000
25 to 34 26.4 (22.9, 30.3) 5,060,000
35 to 44 10.5 (8.3, 13.2) 2,007,000
45 and older 7.6 (5.6, 10.2) 1,456,000

Abbreviation:  CI = confidence interval.
*Rounded to the nearest thousand.
–Estimate is not reported; relative standard error > 30% or cell size ≤ 20.

Age at Time of First Stalking Victimization Among Male Victims ̶ NISVS 2015

Table 8. Age at Time of First Stalking Victimization Among Male Victims  ̶  NISVS 2015

Age Group Weighted % 95% CI Estimated Number of Victims*
Under 18 12.9 (8.4, 19.3) 826,000
10 and under
11 to 17 10.3 (6.3, 16.3) 658,000
Under 25 40.5 (33.0, 48.5) 2,595,000
18 to 24 27.6 (21.2, 35.1) 1,769,000
25 and older 58.8 (50.8, 66.3) 3,768,000
25 to 34 21.0 (15.5, 27.8) 1,345,000
35 to 44 22.6 (16.2, 30.7) 1,450,000
45 and older 15.2 (10.3, 21.8) 973,000

Abbreviation:  CI = confidence interval.
*Rounded to the nearest thousand.
–Estimate is not reported; relative standard error > 30% or cell size ≤ 20.

Lifetime and 12-month Prevalence of Contact Sexual Violence,1 Physical Violence, and/or Stalking Victimization by an Intimate Partner ̶ U.S. Women, NISVS 2015

Table 9. Lifetime and 12-month Prevalence of Contact Sexual Violence,1 Physical Violence, and/or Stalking Victimization by an Intimate Partner  ̶  U.S. Women, NISVS 2015

Lifetime 12-Month
  Weighted
%
95% CI Estimated
Number of
Victims*
Weighted % 95% CI Estimated
Number of
Victims*
Any contact sexual violence,1 physical
violence, and/or stalking
36.4 (34.8, 38.0) 43,579,000 5.4 (4.7, 6.2) 6,461,000
Contact sexual violence1 18.3 (17.0, 19.6) 21,897,000 2.4 (2.0, 3.0) 2,927,000
Physical violence 30.6 (29.1, 32.2) 366,632,000 2.9 (2.3, 3.5) 3,455,000
Slapped, pushed, shoved 29.1 (27.6, 30.6) 34,828,000 2.6 (2.1, 3.3) 316,000
Any severe physical violence2 21.4 (20.0, 22.8) 25,570,000 1.9 (1.5, 2.5) 2,295,000
Stalking 10.4 (9.5, 11.5) 12,499,000 2.0 (1.5, 2.5) 2,363,000
Any contact sexual violence,1 physical
violence, and/or stalking with
IPV-related impact3
24.4 (23.0, 25.9) 29,230,000 2.9 (2.4, 3.6) 3,512,000

Abbreviation:  CI = confidence interval.
1Contact sexual violence includes rape, being made to penetrate someone else, sexual coercion, and/or unwanted sexual contact.
2Severe physical violence includes hit with a fist or something hard, kicked, hurt by pulling hair, slammed against something, tried to hurt by choking or suffocating, beaten, burned on purpose, used a knife or gun.
3Includes experiencing any of the following: being fearful, concerned for safety, injury, need for medical care, needed help from law enforcement, missed at least one day of work, missed at least one day of school. The following impacts were also included in the lifetime estimate only: any post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, need for housing services, need for victim advocate services, need for legal services and contacting a crisis hotline. Intimate partner violence-related impact questions were assessed among victims of contact sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner either during the lifetime or in the last 12 months. The impacts were assessed for specific perpetrators and asked in relation to any form of intimate partner violence experienced in that relationship. By definition, all stalking victimizations result in impact because the definition of stalking requires the experience of fear or concern for safety.
*Rounded to the nearest thousand.

Lifetime Prevalence of Psychological Aggression by an Intimate Partner ̶ U.S. Women, NISVS 20151

Table 10. Lifetime Prevalence of Psychological Aggression by an Intimate Partner  ̶  U.S. Women, NISVS 20151

Weighted % 95% CI Estimated
Number of
Victims*
Psychological aggression (any) 36.4 (34.8, 38.0) 43,546,000
Expressive aggression – Insulted, humiliated, made fun of in front
of others
25.7 (24.3, 27.2) 30,770,000
Any coercive control 30.6 (29.1, 32.2) 36,654,000
Kept you from having your own money 9.6 (8.7 , 10.6) 11,501,000
Tried to keep from seeing or talking to family or friends 16.4 (15.2, 17.6) 19,622,000
Kept track of by demanding to know where you were and what you
were doing
23.6 (22.2, 25.0) 28,531,000
Made threats to physically harm 19.7 (18.4, 21.0) 23,546,000

Abbreviation:  CI = confidence interval.
*Rounded to the nearest thousand.
1Represents a subset of the psychological aggression items that were included in previous administrations of the NISVS survey.

Lifetime and 12-month Prevalence of Contact Sexual Violence,1 Physical Violence, and/or Stalking Victimization by an Intimate Partner ̶ U.S. Men, NISVS 2015

Table 11. Lifetime and 12-month Prevalence of Contact Sexual Violence,1 Physical Violence, and/or Stalking Victimization by an Intimate Partner  ̶  U.S. Men, NISVS 2015

Lifetime 12-Month
Weighted % 95% CI Estimated
Number of
Victims*
Weighted % 95% CI Estimated
Number of
Victims*
Any contact sexual violence,1
physical violence, and/or stalking
33.3 (31.8, 35.4) 37,205,000 5.1 (4.4, 6.0) 5,722,000
Contact sexual violence1 8.2 (7.2, 9.2) 9,082,000 1.6 (1.2, 2.2) 1,833,000
Physical violence 31.0 (29.2, 32.7) 34,436,000 3.8 (3.2, 4.6) 4,255,000
Slapped, pushed, shoved 28.7 (27.1, 30.5) 31,983,000 3.4 (3.4, 4.1) 3,729,000
Any severe physical violence2 14.9 (13.6, 16.3) 16,556,000 2.0 (1.5, 2.6) 2,219,000
Stalking 2.2 (1.7, 2.8) 2,485,000 0.7 (0.4, 1.1) 787,000
Any contact sexual violence,1
physical violence, and/or
stalking with IPV-related impact3
10.6 (9.5, 11.8) 11,808,000 1.8 (1.3, 2.4) 1,998,000

Abbreviation:  CI = confidence interval.
1Contact sexual violence includes rape, being made to penetrate someone else, sexual coercion, and/or unwanted sexual contact.
2Severe physical violence includes hit with a fist or something hard, kicked, hurt by pulling hair, slammed against something, tried to hurt by choking or suffocating, beaten, burned on purpose, used a knife or gun.
3Includes experiencing any of the following: being fearful, concerned for safety, injury, need for medical care, needed help from law enforcement, missed at least one day of work, missed at least one day of school. The following impacts were also included in the lifetime estimate only: any post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, need for housing services, need for victim advocate services, need for legal services and contacting a crisis hotline. Intimate partner violence-related impact questions were assessed among victims of contact sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner either during the lifetime or in the last 12 months. The impacts were assessed for specific perpetrators and asked in relation to any form of intimate partner violence experienced in that relationship. By definition, all stalking victimizations result in impact because the definition of stalking requires the experience of fear or concern for safety.
*Rounded to the nearest thousand.

Lifetime Prevalence of Psychological Aggression by an Intimate Partner ̶ U.S. Men, NISVS 20151

Table 12. Lifetime Prevalence of Psychological Aggression by an Intimate Partner  ̶  U.S. Men, NISVS 20151

Weighted % 95% CI Estimated
Number of
Victims*
Psychological aggression (any) 34.3 (32.5, 36.1) 38,426,000
Expressive aggression – Insulted, humiliated, made fun of in front
of others
17.4 (16.0, 18.9) 19,523,000
Any coercive control 29.8 (28.1, 31.6) 33,441,000
Kept you from having your own money 5.2 (4.4, 6.1) 5,787,000
Tried to keep from seeing or talking to family or friends 12.2 (11.0, 13.5) 13,683,000
Kept track of by demanding to know where you were and what you
were doing
24.9 (23.3, 26.6) 27,970,000
Made threats to physically harm 10.1 (9.0, 11.3) 11,353,000

Abbreviation:  CI = confidence interval.
*Rounded to the nearest thousand.
1Represents a subset of the psychological aggression items that were included in previous administrations of the NISVS survey.

Age at Time of First Victimization Contact Sexual Violence,1 Physical Violence, and/or Stalking by an Intimate Partner2 Among Female Victims ? NISVS 2015

Table 13. Age at Time of First Victimization Contact Sexual Violence,1 Physical Violence, and/or Stalking by an Intimate Partner2 Among Female Victims  ̶  NISVS 2015

Age Group Weighted % 95% CI Estimated Number of Victims*
Under 18 25.8 (23.5, 28.4) 11,264,000
10 and under
11 to 17 25.6 (23.2, 28.1) 11,140,000
Under 25 71.1 (68.6, 73.5) 30,978,000
18 to 24 45.2 (42.5, 48.0) 19,713,000
25 and older 28.0 (25.6, 30.5) 12,193,000
25 to 34 19.0 (16.9, 21.2) 8,259,000
35 to 44 6.5 (5.4, 8.0) 2,854,000
45 and older 2.5 (1.8, 3.4) 1,080,000

Abbreviation:  CI = confidence interval.
1Contact sexual violence includes rape, being made to penetrate someone else, sexual coercion, and/or unwanted sexual contact.
2Represents the age at the first experience of IPV among women who experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner. IPV includes physical violence, all forms of sexual violence, stalking, and psychological aggression.
*Rounded to the nearest thousand.
–Estimate is not reported; relative standard error > 30% or cell size ≤ 20.

Age at Time of First Victimization Contact Sexual Violence,1 Physical Violence, and/or Stalking by an Intimate Partner2 Among Female Victims ̶ NISVS 2015

Table 14. Age at Time of First Victimization Contact Sexual Violence,1 Physical Violence, and/or Stalking by an Intimate Partner2 Among Male Victims  ̶  NISVS 2015

Age Group Weighted % 95% CI Estimated Number of Victims*
Under 18 14.6 (12.4, 17.0) 5,444,000
10 and under
11 to 17 14.4 (12.3, 16.9) 5,394,000
Under 25 55.8 (52.5, 59.0) 20,832,000
18 to 24 41.2 (38.0, 44.5) 15,388,000
25 and older 43.1 (39.9, 46.3) 16,087,000
25 to 34 26.0 (23.3, 28.9) 9,713,000
35 to 44 10.4 (8.6, 12.6) 3,883,000
45 and older 6.7 (5.2, 8.5) 2,491,000

Abbreviation:  CI = confidence interval.
1Contact sexual violence includes rape, being made to penetrate someone else, sexual coercion, and/or unwanted sexual contact.
2Represents the age at the first experience of IPV among men who experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner. IPV includes physical violence, all forms of sexual violence, stalking, and psychological aggression.
*Rounded to the nearest thousand.
–Estimate is not reported; relative standard error > 30% or cell size ≤ 20.

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