Debra Houry
CDC’s Acting Principal Deputy Director, Dr. Debra Houry will be here on July 29th from 3 - 4PM ET to answer your questions about Sexual Violence and the Power of Prevention.

Debra Houry, MD, MPH, is the Acting Principal Deputy Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She previously served as the Director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where she led innovative research and science-based programs to prevent injuries and violence and to reduce their consequences. Dr. Houry has also served as an associate professor at Emory University and emergency physician at Grady Memorial Hospital. She has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters on injury prevention and violence. She has received many national awards, including the first Linda Saltzman Memorial Intimate Partner Violence Researcher Award from the Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma, and the Academy of Women in Academic Emergency Medicine’s Researcher Award. Dr. Houry was elected as a member of the National Academy of Medicine, which is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine. Recently, Dr. Houry served as the Prevention Co-Lead for the Department of Defense’s 2021 Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault in the Military Structure and Membership.

Dr. Houry will be answering questions about sexual violence among the active duty military and Veteran communities as well in the United States more generally. Dr. Houry will also answer questions about the power of prevention and how we all play a role in preventing sexual violence before it happens.

Sexual violence is a significant problem in the United States. Sexual violence refers to sexual activity when consent is not obtained or not given freely. Sexual violence impacts every community and affects people of all genders, sexual orientations, and ages. Anyone can experience or perpetrate sexual violence. The perpetrator of sexual violence is usually someone the victim knows, such as a friend, current or former intimate partner, coworker, neighbor, or family member. Sexual violence can occur in person, online, or through technology, such as posting or sharing sexual pictures of someone without their consent, or non-consensual sexting. Military sexual trauma (MST) includes sexual assault or sexual harassment experienced during military service.

Sexual violence, including MST, impacts health in many ways and can lead to short- and long-term physical and mental health problems. This is why CDC focuses on preventing sexual violence before it happens. Changing social norms, teaching skills, empowering communities, and creating protective environments can help prevent sexual violence. We all have a role to play in prevention.

* Resources for Immediate Assistance *

Safe Helpline:

National Domestic Violence Hotline:


Strong Hearts Native Helpline:

* Additional Resources *

CDC’s ‘What is Sexual Violence?’ Video: [En Español:]

CDC’s Sexual Violence overview:

CDC’s STOP SV- A Technical Package to Prevent Sexual Violence:

CDC’s Sexual Violence Media Guide: violence-landing/SEXUAL VIOLENCE-MediaGuide-508c.pdf

Department of Veteran’s Affairs:

Department of Defense:

Department of Defense’s Independent Review Commission Recommendations on Countering Sexual Assault in the Military:

National Sexual Violence Resource Center:

Futures Without Violence:



Prevention Institute:
Edited 2 mo ago
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Responses: 12
PVT Mark Zehner
Great information! Thank you!
Debra Houry
Debra Houry
1 mo
PVT Mark Zehner Thank you for joining the chat!
CWO3 Us Marine
You mean marital rape? Let's not dance around the issue. No means no. Salesmen learn that every no is a maybe, but not with the unwilling.
SGT Air Defense Radar Repairer
SGT (Join to see)
2 mo
No is not in a man's vocabulary
Debra Houry
Debra Houry
1 mo
CWO3 (Join to see) Thanks for your comment. Yes, marital rape is one form of sexual violence—as is any sexual contact without freely given consent.
CPT David Gowel
Debra Houry Thank you for joining us to discuss such an important issue as this. We often interact with servicemembers, veterans, and family members on RallyPoint talking about their personal challenges with sexual abuse for themselves or their loved ones but they are reluctant to raise it to their chain of command or struggle with how to deal with it after they get out of the military. What advice do you have for those of us who have no clinical training on this issue but want to help one of our peers who shares such challenges and also wants 100% confidentiality while trying to figure out what to do?
Debra Houry
Debra Houry
1 mo
CPT David Gowel Thanks for this excellent question. One of the most important ways you can help a family member, friend, or colleague who discloses their sexual assault experience to you is to listen and to believe them, and to honor their trust. You can help them find the support and resources they need through military resources or in the community, even if they choose not to report or to remain anonymous. A helpful guide from the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape provides some additional tips and information that can help you be an ally, supporter, and part of the solution (see National Sexual Violence Resource Center "How to Help" website). Similar resources may be available from your local VA as well.
Debra Houry
Debra Houry
1 mo

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