It's a shocking number but one in four women surveyed by the government say they were violently attacked by their boyfriends or husbands.
One in four!
"It's the first time we've had this kind of estimate" on the prevalence of intimate partner violence, Linda Degutis of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the Associated Press.
The survey, which was released by the CDC on December 14th 2011, is the first of a new annual project to look at how many women say they've been abused.
At least one expert believes the estimate on rape and attempted rape to be "extremely high" — with 1 in 5 women saying they were victims (about half of those cases involved intimate partners). But advocates say the new rape numbers are possible.
No documentation was sought to verify the women's claims, which were made anonymously. The CDC report is based on a randomized telephone survey of about 9,000 women and 7,400 men.
"It's a major problem that often is underestimated and overlooked," Linda James, director of health for Futures Without Violence, a San Francisco-based organization that advocates against domestic abuse, told the AP.
People who work with abused women aren't all surprised by the findings. Kim Frndak, community educator for the Women's Rescue Center to End Domestic Violence, which operates a shelter on the outskirts of Atlanta, believes that awareness is on the rise.
"More and more people are really saying, 'Oh, this is something that we need to pay attention to as well,' because it's your sister, it's your mother, it's your daughter, it's your son, it's your brother. Someone in your own circle is being affected by domestic violence, and the effects can be devastating," she told AP.