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J Homosex. 2009;56(4):407-20. doi: 10.1080/00918360902821395.

Sexual and physical abuse: a comparison between lesbians and their heterosexual sisters.

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University of California, Davis, Davis, California, USA.


The purpose of this study was to investigate similarities and differences in the incidence and patterns of abuse experienced by lesbians and their heterosexual sisters. In a matched sample of 324 lesbian/heterosexual sister pairs, the lesbians reported a greater incidence than their sisters of childhood physical and sexual abuse, as well as adult sexual abuse. Both groups identified male relatives as the most common perpetrator of both childhood physical and sexual abuse. Male relatives were most commonly identified as perpetrators of adult physical abuse and male strangers were most commonly identified as adult sexual abusers. Our results demonstrate that both sexual and physical abuse are common experiences for lesbian and heterosexual women; however, since the context of these experiences is different, each group will have special needs for services and treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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