abstract

Limited information exists on the relationship between sexual violence victimization and health among African American women. Using data from a community sample of African American women, we examine the association between current health and lifetime experiences of sexual violence. In-person interviews were completed in 2010. Among interviewees, 53.7% of women reported rape victimization and 44.8% reported sexual coercion in their lifetime. Victims of rape or sexual coercion were significantly more likely to report depression and posttraumatic stress disorder during their lifetime. Among victims whose first unwanted sexual experience was rape or sexual coercion, perpetrators were mostly acquaintances and intimate partners, and over one third were injured and needed services. More attention is needed on the health needs of African American women and their association to victimization status.

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