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Violence Against Women. 2008 May;14(5):528-41. doi: 10.1177/1077801208315528.

Prevalence and patterns of sexual assault across the life span among incarcerated women.

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  • 1Boston University, Boston, MA, USA.


This study investigated the prevalence of and associations among sexual assault by life stage (childhood, adolescence, or adulthood) and perpetrator (family, stranger, friend, or partner) via a survey of a statewide sample of incarcerated women (N = 484). Participants were 18 to 56 years old, and the majority were White (56%). Results demonstrate higher rates of sexual assault in childhood (35%) and adulthood (22%) as compared with adolescence (14%). Logistic regression analyses revealed significant associations between childhood sexual assault by family and adulthood sexual assault by friend, stranger, and partner; adolescent sexual assault was not significantly associated with sexual assault in childhood or adulthood. These findings suggest that the lifetime sexual victimization pattern of incarcerated women differs from that seen in the general population.

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