Sexual and domestic violence is a significant public health problem in the U.S. One in six women and one in 33 men report experiencing an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. Each year, there are about 1,500 domestic violence fatalities. Another 4.8 million women and 2.9 million men are victims of domestic (or intimate partner) violence-related assaults. Statistics largely underestimate the problem of sexual and domestic violence. These injuries negatively affect the health of victims for the rest of their lives. The total burden of non-fatal violence to communities and society is far greater than we know.
The good news is that these problems have solutions. The field of public health provides us with a framework for understanding how to prevent violence before it occurs and with tools for leveraging strategic, broad-based solutions to violence. Looking to seat belt safety, HIV prevention, substance abuse prevention and other public health sectors focused on behavior and norms change, we find blueprints for understanding and preventing violence. Tools such as the Social Ecological Model (SEM) steep violence prevention work in a context with concrete (risk and protective) factors that communities can work to identify and change.
Further information on prevention and the public health approach to ending violence: