Today in Rape Culture

[Trigger warning for rape culture.]

The CDC has just released the results of a comprehensive national survey on rape and domestic violence. The study, The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, has found that nearly a million women are raped in the US every year.

One million women a year.

Here are some other key findings from the Executive Summary (pdf), none of which should come as any surprise to regular readers of this space:
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 10 years of age or younger.
The study also addressed something that we've discussed previously—experiencing multiple acts of sexual violence in one's lifetime. According to the CDC's findings, more than a third of women who had been raped as minors were also raped as adults.

Surviving sexual violence was also found to correlate with anxiety disorders and chronic health issues: "Both men and women who had been assaulted were more likely to report frequent headaches, chronic pain, difficulty sleeping, limitations on activity, and poor physical and mental health."

(Imagine if the amount of effort put into "ending obesity" because of its alleged drain on the healthcare system were put into dismantling the rape culture. But I digress.)

This news is being greeted with the usual shock and awe:
"That almost one in five women have been raped in their lifetime is very striking and, I think, will be surprising to a lot of people," said Linda C. Degutis, director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which conducted the survey.

"I don't think we've really known that it was this prevalent in the population," she said.
I hate the shock and awe response. Shock and awe is a loyal accomplice to the rape culture, its job to lay the tidy, irresistible pathstones to overwhelmed, where indifference justified by presumed defeat takes root.

I greet these numbers not with surprise, but with steely resolve. Yes, they are terrible. And I stare them in their ugly face and let them try to do their worst to my determination, and then I take a breath and get back to work.

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