More than one in five women questioned for a US survey reported having been raped. Nearly a third of all women said they had experienced episodes of sexual assault, physical violence or stalking at the hands of an intimate partner.
The study, compiled by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, offers a disturbing glimpse into the private lives of women in America, particularly to abuse within a relationship that often goes unreported.
Victims of rape or other forms of physical violence were also more likely to suffer mental ailments as a consequence of the attacks, it said.
For the survey data was collected in 2010 from phone interviews with 16,500 adult Americans. Results indicated that some 12 million Americans may have been victims of rape, stalking or physical violence – 24 victims of these violations in the US every minute.
For most women the assaults come when they are still young. The CDC reported that 80 per cent of rape victims said they were targeted before the age of 25.