CDC report reveals new info on frequency of sexual violence

Nearly half of Minnesota women experience some kind of sexual abuse, says a new national survey by the Centers for Disease Control.

About 22 percent of Minnesota women have been raped in their lifetime, and more than 48 percent of Minnesota women have experienced sexual violence other than rape, the CDC estimates. About a third of Minnesota women have had partners who stalked them or were physically violent, also according to the report. The study also estimated about 24 percent of men in Minnesota have had partners who were sexually violent.

Surveying about 17,000 people nationwide, the report provides first-of-its-kind data that may depict sexual violence more accurately than previous studies, said Patty Wetterling, sexual violence director of the Minnesota Department of Health.

The numbers are much higher than previously reported, Wetterling said. The CDC has expanded the definition of sexual violence, contacted people through both landlines and cell phones, and allowed them to report anonymously, she said.

"I wasn't surprised. This is what we're hearing from people. There is a tremendous amount of sexual violence, especially when you include all of the coercive behaviors and non-contact behaviors, which do impact lives tremendously," Wetterling said.

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