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J Interpers Violence. 2016 Sep;31(14):2475-91. doi: 10.1177/0886260515576968. Epub 2015 Apr 5.

Understanding Disparities in Service Seeking Following Forcible Versus Drug- or Alcohol-Facilitated/Incapacitated Rape.

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Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.
Clemson University, SC, USA.
Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, Charleston, SC, USA.
Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA.
Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA


Victims of drug- or alcohol-facilitated/incapacitated rape (DAFR/IR) are substantially less likely to seek medical, rape crisis, or police services compared with victims of forcible rape (FR); however, reasons for these disparities are poorly understood. The current study examined explanatory mechanisms in the pathway from rape type (FR vs. DAFR/IR) to disparities in post-rape service seeking (medical, rape crisis, criminal justice). Participants were 445 adult women from a nationally representative household probability sample who had experienced FR, DAFR/IR, or both since age 14. Personal characteristics (age, race, income, prior rape history), rape characteristics (fear, injury, loss of consciousness), and post-rape acknowledgment, medical concerns, and service seeking were collected. An indirect effects model using bootstrapped standard errors was estimated to examine pathways from rape type to service seeking. DAFR/IR-only victims were less likely to seek services compared with FR victims despite similar post-rape medical concerns. FR victims were more likely to report fear during the rape and a prior rape history, and to acknowledge the incident as rape; each of these characteristics was positively associated with service seeking. However, only prior rape history and acknowledgment served as indirect paths to service seeking; acknowledgment was the strongest predictor of service seeking. Diminished acknowledgment of the incident as rape may be especially important to explaining why DAFR/IR victims are less likely than FR victims to seek services. Public service campaigns designed to increase awareness of rape definitions, particularly around DAFR/IR, are important to reducing disparities in rape-related service seeking.


alcohol and drugs; sexual assault; support seeking

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