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Women's Health USA 2013 An illustrated collection of current and historical data, published annually.

Intimate Partner Violence

Narrative

Intimate partner violence (IPV) has been defined as physical violence, sexual violence, threats of physical or sexual violence, and psychological aggression by a current or former spouse or dating partner. IPV can occur among heterosexual and same-sex couples and does not require sexual intimacy.1 In 2010, 35.6 percent of adult women aged 18 years and older, or 42.4 million women, reported having experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime while nearly one-half (48.4 percent) reported having experienced psychological aggression.2

The prevalence of IPV varies by sexual orientation. In 2010, bisexual women (56.9 percent) were more likely than either lesbians (40.4 percent) or heterosexual women (32.3 percent) to report any lifetime experience of physical IPV, including slapping, pushing, or shoving and severe acts such as being beaten, burned, or choked.

Among women who reported experiencing physical violence, more than half of bisexual women (55.1 percent) reported having ever been slapped, pushed, or shoved by an intimate partner, compared to 36.3 percent of lesbian women and 29.8 percent of heterosexual women. Bisexual women were also more likely to report having experienced severe physical violence, such as having been choked or beaten (49.3 percent) than lesbian (29.4 percent) or heterosexual women (23.6 percent; data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site).

Lifetime experience of rape by an intimate partner was reported by approximately 1 in 5 bisexual women and 1 in 10 heterosexual women. Stalking, defined as a pattern of harassing or threatening tactics that is both unwanted and causes fear or safety concerns for the victim, was also more common among bisexual women than heterosexual women (31.1 versus 10.7 percent, respectively). Estimates of rape and stalking for lesbians were not reliable.

Finally, both bisexual and lesbian women reported higher rates of lifetime psychological aggression (such as name calling, humiliation, or coercion) by an intimate partner than heterosexual women (76.2, 63.0, and 47.5 percent, respectively).

Among bisexual women who experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner, approximately 90 percent reported only male perpetrators. Among lesbian survivors of IPV, 67.4 percent reported only female perpetrators (data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site).

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention link leaves hrsa.gov site, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Intimate Partner Violence: Definitions. Accessed 07/25/13.

2 Black MC, Basile KC, Breiding MJ, Smith SG, Walters ML, Merrick MT, Chen J, Stevens MR. 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; 2011.

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Graph

Data

Lifetime Prevalence of Intimate Partner Violence Among Women Aged 18 and Older, Type of Violence and Sexual Orientation, 2010
Type of Violence Percent of Women, Lesbian Percent of Women, Bisexual Percent of Women, Heterosexual Percent of Women, Total
*Includes harassing or threatening tactics that are unwanted and cause fear or safety concerns.
**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. Source: 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. Accessed 07/25/13.
Source: Walters, M.L., Chen J.,& Breiding, M.J. (2013). The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Findings on Victimization by Sexual Orientation. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed 07/25/13.
Physical Violence 40.4 56.9 32.3 32.9
Rape Estimate does not meet the standards of reliability or precision. 22.1 9.1 9.4
Stalking* Estimate does not meet the standards of reliability or precision. 31.1 10.2 10.7
Physical Aggression** 63.0 76.2 47.5 48.4