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Domestic violence like 'living in a war zone'
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Almost one-fourth of U.S. women suffer ongoing health problems because of domestic violence that an activist suggested are similar to the effects of living in a war zone, a U.S. health agency survey reported.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report said 23.6 percent of women and 11.5 percent of men reported being a victim of what it called "intimate partner violence" at some time in their lives.

The CDC defined this as threatened, attempted or completed physical or sexual violence or emotional abuse by a spouse, former spouse, current or former boyfriend or girlfriend or a dating partner. The CDC estimates that 1,200 women are killed and 2 million injured in domestic violence annually.

"It confirms ... that living in a dangerous and stressful environment has long-term health impacts. It's like living in a war zone," said Rita Smith, executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, an advocacy group.

More than 70,000 people in 16 U.S. states and two territories -- Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands -- responded to the CDC survey in 2005.

Black women were more likely to report domestic violence than whites or Hispanics, but it was most frequent among multiracial, American Indian and Alaska native women. Women of all income and education levels suffer such abuse, although it was more frequent among the poorest and those who attended but did not graduate from college.

The CDC said women who suffer domestic violence are three times as likely to engage in risky sex and 70 percent more likely to drink heavily than other women. They are also twice as likely to report that their activities are limited by physical, mental or emotional problems and 50 percent more likely to use a cane, wheelchair or other disability equipment, the CDC survey found.

These women also were 80 percent more likely to have a stroke, 70 percent more likely to have heart disease or arthritis and 60 percent more likely to have asthma.

(Agencies via Xinhua News Agency February 27, 2008)

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