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Case Report  |   May 1989
A longitudinal study of sexuality and gynecologic health in abused women
Article Information
Case Report   |   May 1989
A longitudinal study of sexuality and gynecologic health in abused women
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, May 1989, Vol. 89, 619. doi:10.7556/jaoa.1989.89.5.619
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, May 1989, Vol. 89, 619. doi:10.7556/jaoa.1989.89.5.619
Abstract

Although the nature of the sexual dysfunctions that result from rape and abuse may vary, the study reported here suggests that the dysfunctions become chronic. Sexually violent assaults alter a woman's affective as well as her gynecologic and physiologic life. The author determined the frequency of sexual dysfunction in 100 women: 30 rape victims, 35 abuse victims, and 30 case-matched controls. The sexual inventory evaluated for sexual fears, sexual desire, sexual arousal, and orgasm. To evaluate the impact of the abuse on the gynecologic health of the victims, the gynecologic examination and interview focused on pain, dyspareunia, vaginismus, dysfunctional uterine bleeding, vaginitis, and pelvic surgery. Over a period of two to four years after the violent event, 61% of the raped and abused women had some sexual dysfunction. Almost the same percentage had gynecologic problems. Studies of this nature are difficult because the victims are reluctant to participate and resistant to cooperate. Only 45% of the victims in the rape-crisis centers were willing to cooperate, while only 25% of those in the shelter for abused women were willing to provide a sexual history and consent to an interview and pelvic examination. Such factors need to be kept in mind when interpreting the data.