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J Interpers Violence. 2005 Jan;20(1):127-31.

Understanding rape and sexual assault: 20 years of progress and future directions.

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  • 1Michigan State University, USA.


During the past 20 years, researchers have documented the widespread problem of rape in American society. Approximately one in four women are raped in their adult lifetime, which causes severe psychological distress and long-term physical health problems. The impact of sexual assault extends far beyond rape survivors as their family, friends, and significant others are also negatively affected. Moreover, those who help rape victims, such as rape victim advocates, therapists, as well as sexual assault researchers, can experience vicarious trauma. Future research and advocacy should focus on improving the community response to rape and the prevention of sexual assault.

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