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Originally published Friday, December 23, 2011 at 3:46 PM

A call to action prompted by violence against women

The federal Centers for Disease Control offers alarming new data about the high incident of rape and physical violence against women. Prevention programs are worth every penny.

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THE federal Centers for Disease Control offers disturbing news about the high incidence of rape and violence against women in America. Obviously, mere quantifying of such acts will not reduce their prevalence but the information should compel people to preserve or enhance prevention efforts.

Nearly one-fifth of women have been the victim of sexual assault at some point in their lives. About one in four females have been subject to physical violence by a boyfriend or husband, according to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey of the federal Centers for Disease Control.

One male in seven has experienced physical violence from a partner at some point in his life.

The telephone survey of more than 16,000 adults did not require documentation of claims; it only attempted to capture reported incidents of such behavior. The research was conducted via land line and cellphone, to ensure inclusion of younger victims.

There are many. For example, 70 percent of those who experienced violence from an intimate partner were under age 25, while 80 percent of female rape victims were harmed before age 25.

"We are concerned that sexual violence, physical violence, stalking and intimate-partner violence are widespread in the U.S., affecting the health of millions of adults," said Lynn Jenkins of the CDC.

Gathering data is one thing. Doing something about this tragedy is quite another.

Clearly, some abusive behavior persists because people do not like to talk about these incidents and because of the irresistible idea that a boyfriend or husband will see the light and change behavior.

The researchers correctly describe their work as a call to action — that is exactly what it should be. Budget cutters who think domestic-violence and rape-prevention programs are superfluous should think twice before slashing programs that work.

The startling amount of rape and physical violence is a national disgrace.

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