New Study Reveals One in Five Women Are Victims of Sexual Assault

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Nearly one in five women have either been raped or have been the victims of an attempted rape during their lifetimes, according to a report released Wednesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The study also found that 25 percent of women have suffered a beating at the hands of an intimate partner, while over 16 percent have had someone stalk them.

Overall, 36 million people in the U.S. say they were victims of some form of domestic violence during the past year, the CDC reports. That includes men, with one in seven claiming they were at the receiving end of violence by a partner.

Linda Degutis, director of the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, remarked, "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. I don’t think we’ve really known that it was this prevalent in the population."

These updated figures suggest that the government has greatly underestimated the problem.  For instance, The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network last year estimated that 272,350 Americans were victims of sexual violence, and only 84,767 assaults defined as forcible rapes were reported in 2010.

But Wednesday's  report put the number of women who were either raped or nearly violated at about 1.3 million last year.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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