Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version

February 2001


Published in Journal of Interpersonal Violence 16:2 (February 2001), pp. 116–132. Copyright © 2001 Sage Publications, Inc. Used by permission.


This study provides an examination of violence occurring in the couple relationships of female survivors of childhood sexual abuse (CSA). Participants were 240 low-income women, 113 of whom (47%) reported some history of CSA. Compared with non–sexually abused women, those who had experienced CSA reported that their couple relationships were more likely to have involved several severe forms of violence, including hitting, kicking, and beating. Comparisons of the directional patterns of partner violence revealed that a greater proportion of CSA survivors’ relationships had involved at least one incident of both man-to-woman and woman-to-man aggression. An unexpected finding was that a significant number of all intimate relationships were reported by women to have involved one or more acts of woman-to-man violence only. Findings are discussed in the context of current knowledge about CSA and intimate partner violence; directions for future research are suggested.