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N Engl J Med. 1995 Jan 26;332(4):234-7.

Care of the woman who has been raped.

Author information

1
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson 39216-4505.

Erratum in

  • N Engl J Med 1997 Jul 3;337(1):56.

Abstract

There is an escalating epidemic of rape in the United States. All victims have psychological injury, and over half sustain physical injury in the assault. The response of health care professionals to these women demands sensitivity and expertise. A focused history and well-documented physical examination are crucial. Consistency among the history and physical findings, objective findings of recent trauma, and evidence of recent sexual activity are critical. Compliance with forensic protocols ensures that this information will be available for criminal proceedings. Long-term follow-up care and psychological support are necessary for the woman to make the transition from victim to survivor.

PIP:

This review discusses the care of postmenarchal women raped by men in the US. A woman who is a victim of sexual assault suffers psychological injury in addition to physical harm. Thus, the response of health care professionals to these women demands sensitivity and expertise. The first step involves a medical evaluation of the patient. Informed consent must be obtained before the physical and forensic examination of an assault victim. A focused history and well-documented physical examination are crucial since it serves as a guide in the medico-legal examination. In addition, consistency among the history and physical findings, objective findings of recent trauma, and evidence of recent sexual activity are critical. Compliance with forensic protocols ensures that this information will be available in criminal proceedings. Moreover, long-term follow-up care and psychological support are necessary for women to make the transition from victim to survivor.

Comment in

PMID:
7619112
DOI:
10.1056/NEJM199501263320407
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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