Article Text

  1. M. Arnold1,
  2. G. Wyatt1,
  3. X. Li1
  1. 1David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA/Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Los Angeles, CA.


Background Every two and a half minutes someone in the United States is being sexually assaulted and 1 in 6 women are victims of complete or attempted sexual assault in their lifetime. These statistics may be even more extreme when looking at sexual abuse in underserved communities.

Objectives To gain a better understanding of adult sexual abuse in understudied and underserved communities and to determine if there is an association between decisions to disclose information about their sexual abuse and ethnicity.

Methods This is a descriptive analysis of adult sexual abuse from the University of California Los Angeles-Drew Women Family Project database, which contained 490 women. Descriptive analysis of the 317 women, who were sexually abused as adults, was conducted using SAS and SPSS statistical programs. Correlations between ethnicity and decision to disclose information were evaluated using chi-square test.

Results More than half of the women were victims of sexual assault. Of these, 57% were victims of complete rape, 19% attempted rape, and 9% date rape. Most of the assaults occurred between the ages of 18 and 25. Eighty-one percent of the women did not report their assault to the police and very few told their health care providers. Forty-two percent said that it still affects them today. Latinas were found to be marginally less likely to disclose information when compared with African Americans, Caucasians, and other ethnicities.

Conclusion Adult sexual abuse is greater among women who are underserved. This study suggests that novel interventions need to be implemented in this community geared toward reducing the trauma.

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