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NISVS: An Overview of 2010 Findings 

on Victimization by Sexual Orientation 

About NISVS 

NISVS is an ongoing, nationally 
representative telephone survey 
that collects detailed information on 
IPV, SV, and stalking victimization of 
adult women and men ages 18 and 
older in the United States. The survey 
collects data on past-year and lifetime 
experiences of violence. CDC developed 
NISVS to better describe and monitor 
the magnitude of these forms of 
violence in the United States. 

Little is known about the national prevalence of intimate partner violence (IPV), 

sexual violence (SV), and stalking among lesbian, gay, and bisexual women and 

men in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 

National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Findings on 

Victimization by Sexual Orientation is the first of its kind to present comparisons 

of victimization by sexual orientation for women and men.  

2010 Key Findings on Victimization by Sexual Orientation 

The Sexual Orientation Report indicates that individuals who self-identify as 

lesbian, gay, and bisexual have an equal or higher prevalence of experiencing IPV, 

SV, and stalking as compared to self-identified heterosexuals. Bisexual women 

are disproportionally impacted. They experienced a significantly higher lifetime 

prevalence of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner, and 

rape and SV (other than rape) by any perpetrator, when compared to both lesbian 

and heterosexual women. 

Sexual minority respondents reported levels of intimate partner violence 

at rates equal to or higher than those of heterosexuals. 

• 

 

Forty-four percent of lesbian women, 61% of bisexual women, and 35% of 

heterosexual women experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an 

intimate partner in their lifetime. 

• 

 

Twenty-six percent of gay men, 37% of bisexual men, and 29% of heterosexual 

men experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner 

at some point in their lifetime. 

• 

 

Approximately 1 in 5 bisexual women (22%) and nearly 1 in 10 heterosexual 

women (9%) have been raped by an intimate partner in their lifetime. 

Rates of some form of sexual violence were higher among lesbian 

women, gay men, and bisexual women and men compared to 

heterosexual women and men. 

• 

 

Approximately 1 in 8 lesbian women (13%), nearly half of bisexual women 

(46%), and 1 in 6 heterosexual women (17%) have been raped in their lifetime.  

This translates to an estimated 214,000 lesbian women, 1.5 million bisexual women, 

and 19 million heterosexual women. 

• 

 

Four in 10 gay men (40%), nearly half of bisexual men (47%), and 1 in 5 

heterosexual men (21%) have experienced SV other than rape in their lifetime. 

This translates into nearly 1.1 million gay men, 903,000 bisexual men, and 21.6

million heterosexual men.  

National Center for Injury Prevention and Control 
Division of Violence Prevention 

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The majority of 
bisexual victims of 
rape experienced 
their first completed 
rape between the 
ages of 11 and 24. 

Among rape victims, bisexual women experienced rape earlier in 

life compared to heterosexual women. 

• 

 

Of those women who have been raped, almost half of bisexual women (48%) 

and more than a quarter of heterosexual women (28%) experienced their first 

completed rape between the ages of 11 and 17 years.  

The rate of stalking among bisexual women is more than double the 

rate among heterosexual women. 

• 

 

One in 3 bisexual women (37%) and 1 in 6 heterosexual women (16%) have 

experienced stalking victimization at some point during their lifetime in 

which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them 

would be harmed or killed. 

This translates into 1.2 million bisexual women and 

16.8 million heterosexual women. 

A higher percentage of bisexual women reported being concerned 

Lifetime prevalence of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking 

by an intimate partner 

Women 

Men 

Lesbian 

44% 

Gay 

26% 

Bisexual 

61% 

Bisexual 

37% 

Heterosexual 

35% 

Heterosexual 

29% 

for their safety or injured as a result of IPV than lesbian or hetero­

sexual women.  

• 

 

Approximately one-fifth of self-identified lesbian and heterosexual women 

(20% and 22%, respectively) and one-half of bisexual women (48%) reported 

they were concerned for their safety and/or reported at least one post-

traumatic stress disorder symptom (20%, 46%, and 22%, respectively). 

• 

 

Nearly 1 in 3 bisexual women (37%) and 1 in 7 heterosexual women (16%) 

were injured as a result of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an 

intimate partner. 

Opportunities for Prevention and Action 

The promotion of respectful, non violent relationships is key to preventing 

violence. Findings from the Sexual Orientation Report highlight the need for 

broad-based prevention efforts as well as services and support systems that 

address the specific needs of lesbian, gay, and bisexual women and men. 

It is important for all sectors of society, including individuals, families, and 

communities, to work together to end IPV, SV, and stalking. Opportunities for 

prevention and intervention include: 

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Implementing prevention approaches that promote acceptance and 

recognition of healthy, respectful relationships regardless of sexual orientation. 

• 

 

Including lesbian, gay, and bisexual persons in national, state, and local 

violence research. 

• 

 

Referring victims and survivors to culturally appropriate accessible services. 

1 (800) CDC-INFO

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www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/nisvs/