that the vast majority of young people -- the first generation to come of age
in the ten years since Congress adopted the most far-reaching law, the
Violence Against Women Act, to address gender violence in the U.S. -- believe
that violence against women remains an extremely serious and common problem.
Nearly three quarters (72%) believe that violence against women -- defined as
domestic violence; acts of sexual assault, such as rape; stalking; and,
verbal, physical, and emotional abuse -- receives too little attention. To
this generation, violence is no longer a private, personal matter, but rather
a critical societal problem which public institutions, like Congress and law
enforcement, should take the lead in addressing. The dramatic survey results
come as thousands of advocates, survivors, business and political leaders,
athletes and celebrities such as Grammy-winners Alanis Morissette, Lee Ann
Womack and Michael Bolton descend on the capital for Lifetime's 4th annual
"Stop Violence Against Women Week," March 7-11, and as the Network officially
re-launches its Emmy-winning on-air, online, community and legislative
initiative "Our Lifetime Commitment: Stop Violence Against Women."
According to the recent Lifetime survey of 600 women and men, ages 16-24,
violence has personally touched their lives much more so than people have
reported in prior studies:
* Approximately seven in ten women (77%) and men (64%) said they know or
have known someone in an abusive relationship and approximately six in
ten say that they know a woman who has been sexually assaulted. This is
a dramatic increase from a Family Violence Prevention Fund 1996 survey
of Adults 18+ that found that only 33% of respondents have known a woman
in an abusive relationship.
* For young women the personal connection is even more profound and the
fear of sexual violence alters their daily life. Approximately nine out
of ten (87%) young women said that they take special precautions to
rarely or never walk alone after dark and nearly two-thirds (64%) said
that they think about what could happen if they leave a drink
The survey suggested that some progress has been made in making gender
violence no longer a silent, private problem and instead want Congress and law
enforcement to address it. Young people clearly recognize that violence
against women -- specifically partner abuse, rape and stalking -- is a crime
and that public institutions are responsible for addressing the problem.
* A majority (63%) named law enforcement as the first and second most
responsible for addressing the problem. More than one-third of
respondents (36%) said Congress is either first or second most
* However, a gender gap remains on how serious the issue is among men and
women. 75% of young women think the issue is "extremely serious"
compared to 57% of young men, thus demonstrating the importance of
Lifetime's campaign, in collaboration with ESPN and others, to reach
both women and men.
Young people are also willing to speak out and address violence against
* When asked what they would do if they knew a friend or relative who was
abusing a girlfriend or wife, half (50%) of all young men surveyed said
that would say something to him about his abusive behavior.
* More than two-thirds (66%) said that they'd be somewhat or very likely
to report the abuse to the police.
* Nearly three-quarters (74%) of both men and women said that they would
urge the woman to get help.
* And a majority of both women and men said that they would not remain
In addition, young women and men have a much higher "IQ on Violence
Against Women" than previous studies have found.
* 91% knew that less than one-third of rapes and sexual assaults are
reported to law enforcement officials.
* 85% knew that more than one million women are stalked by men each year.
* 80% knew that, in the US, the leading cause of injury to women between
15 and 25 is battering.
* 75% knew that a woman is more likely to be raped by her husband,
partner, boyfriend or acquaintance than she is to be raped by a
stranger. This is a dramatic increase in awareness compared to a poll
done in 2002 that found nearly 6 in 10 Americans age 18+ (58%) wrongly
believed that women are more likely to be raped by someone they don't
However, serious misconceptions still exist and young people say that they
are exposed to gratuitous violence in music, video games and other
entertainment that make people less sensitive to the issue of violence against
* Nearly half of women and more than half of men still believe that women
abuse men just as much as men abuse women. According to the Bureau of
Justice Statistics, in 2001, among Adults 18+, women accounted for 85
percent of the victims of intimate partner violence and men accounted
for approximately 15 percent of the victims.
* 78% of respondents believe that the number one reason a woman stays in
an abusive relationship is low self-esteem, even though in reality the
reasons are much more complicated, including financial and custody
issues and fear.
* Three quarters (75%) of those people surveyed said that they know
someone who listens to songs, plays video games, etc. that depict
physical or sexual violence against women as acceptable behavior, but
72% said that exposure makes the listener or viewer much or somewhat
less sensitive to violence.
The poll is part of Lifetime's Emmy Award-winning campaign "Our Lifetime
Commitment: Stop Violence Against Women," which is dedicated to: raising
awareness of various forms of violence, such as domestic violence, sexual
assault and stalking; offering lifesaving information and support; promoting
passage of bi-partisan supported national legislation; and engaging women and
men to work together to prevent violence. The initiative includes on-air
programming such as an original documentary, "Terror at Home: Domestic
Violence in America," online content, community outreach and legislative
advocacy, including Lifetime's support of reauthorization of the Violence
Against Women Act.
Survey Methodology: The survey was conducted online by The Michael Cohen
Group for Lifetime Television from February 9-16, 2005, among 600 young
people, 16-24 years of age. The sample was comprised of 50% female and 50%
male respondents. One-third of respondents were 16-18; one-third of
respondents were 19-21; one-third of respondents were 22-24. Additionally,
quotas were set to ensure racial representation that is reflective of the U.S.
population between 16-24 as a whole. (A full report is available upon
Lifetime's Partners: Lifetime's non-profit partners include: American Bar
Association; Break the Cycle; Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence;
Equality Now; Legal Momentum; Family Violence Prevention Fund; Darkness To
Light; Help USA; International Justice Mission; Jackson Katz; Dr. Alan McEvoy;
MVP Strategies; Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence (New York City);
Men Can Stop Rape; Mentors in Violence Prevention; The Michael Bolton
Charities; The National Center for Victims of Crime; National Latino Alliance
for the Elimination of Domestic Violence; National Coalition Against Domestic
Violence; National Domestic Violence Hotline; National Network to End Domestic
Violence; National Sexual Violence Resource Center; Partnership Against Child
Abuse; RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network); Safe Horizon; Sports
Leadership Institute; StopFamilyViolence.org; V-Day; Vital Voices; The
Wireless Foundation; WomensLaw.org and more, many of which helped to inform
the survey questionnaire. Lifetime's campaign is made possible by: on-air
sponsor Whirlpool, media partner Comcast, off-air corporate partner The Body
Shop and collaborator ESPN.
About Lifetime: LIFETIME is the leader in women's television and one of
the top-rated basic cable television networks. A diverse, multi-media company,
LIFETIME is committed to offering the highest quality entertainment and
information programming, and advocating a wide range of issues affecting women
and their families. LIFETIME Television, Lifetime Movie Network, Lifetime Real
Women, Lifetime Radio for Women, Lifetime Home Entertainment and Lifetime
Online are part of LIFETIME Entertainment Services, a 50/50 joint venture of
The Hearst Corporation and The Walt Disney Company.
SOURCE Lifetime Television