Psychology, Department of


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Published in Archives of Women’s Mental Health (2023) doi:10.1007/s00737-023-01335-y


Copyright © 2023 by the authors, under exclusive license to Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature. Used by permission.


One in four US women will experience a completed or attempted rape in their lifetime, and more than 50% of survivors will experience two or more rapes. Rape and physical violence also co-occur. Multiple experiences of sexual and physical violence are associated with elevated mental and physical health problems. This secondary analysis examined the prevalence and correlates of experiencing sexual or physical violence within 6 months of a sexual assault medical forensic exam (SAMFE). Between May 2009 and December 2013, 233 female rape survivors aged 15 and older were enrolled in a randomized controlled trial during a SAMFE in the emergency department (ED). Demographics, rape characteristics, distress at the ED, and pre-rape history of sexual or physical victimization were assessed. New sexual and physical victimization was assessed 6 months after the SAMFE via telephone interview. Six months after the exam, 21.7% reported a new sexual or physical victimization. Predictors of revictimization during follow-up included sexual or physical victimization prior to the index rape, making less than $10,000 annually, remembering the rape well, life threat during the rape, and higher distress at the ED. In adjusted models, only pre-rape victimization and making less than $10,000 annually were associated with revictimization. Factors assessed at the ED can inform subsequent victimization risk. More research is needed to prevent revictimization among recent rape victims. Policies to provide financial support to recent rape victims and/or targeted prevention for those with pre-rape victimization at the SAMFE could reduce revictimization risk.

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