New data from the National Intimate Partner & Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS)

The National Intimate Partner & Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) is an ongoing, nationally representative survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The survey assesses sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence in the United States. In May 2018, the CDC released new data in this NISVS 2015 Data Brief.

Sexual Violence

44% of women in the United States and 25% of men had experienced some form of contact sexual violence during their lifetime. Contact sexual violence includes unwanted sexual contact, sexual coercion, attempted or completed rape, and being made to penetrate another person.

Sexual Coercion

1 in 6 women and 1 in 10 men had been subject to sexual coercion. The survey defined sexual coercion as unwanted penetrative sex after being pressured in a nonphysical way. Examples of this kind of pressure include:

  • 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.

Intimate Partner Violence

The survey includes sexual violence, physical violence, stalking, and psychological aggression committed by an intimate partner.

Approximately 1 in 3 adults in the United States has experienced some form of violence at the hands of an intimate partner. Consistent with previous findings, the survey found that similar rates of men and women had experienced intimate partner violence during their lifetimes.

33% of women and 36% of men experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner. 36% of women and 34% of men had experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner.

Gendered Impact of Violence

The survey showed significant differences between women and men’s experience of intimate partner violence, even though the rates of violence are very similar. Women were more likely than men to experience sexual violence and severe physical violence by an intimate partner.

Women who were victims of intimate partner violence were much more likely to see that violence leave a serious impact on their lives. Nearly a quarter of women (24%) had experienced intimate partner violence and experienced a significant impact related to that violence. Those impacts included: being fearful; injury; need for medical care; need for law enforcement assistance; missing work or school; need for victim advocacy, legal services, housing services, or crisis line; and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

More Information

The current data brief presents results from the 2015 survey. More detailed analysis of survey data from previous years is available, including results by state, and analysis of intimate partner violence by sexual orientation.