Risk Factors of Sexual Violence Across Young Women’s Relationship Histories

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Angie Kennedy, PhD Associate Professor School of Social Work Michigan State University East Lansing, MI 48824

Dr. Kennedy

Angie Kennedy, PhD
Associate Professor
School of Social Work
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  

Response: Nearly half of women (44%) experience physical or sexual partner violence by young adulthood, with 1 in 5 girls in high school reporting abuse within the last year. Sexual violence typically co-occurs with other forms of partner violence; co-occurring sexual and physical violence among adolescent girls is linked to health-risk behaviors including alcohol and drug use, unhealthy weight control, sexual risk-taking, and suicidality. As such, it represents a serious public health problem.

To better understand this issue, we wanted to explore risk factors for sexual violence during young women’s adolescent and young adult relationships, i.e., what predicts attempted rape and rape by a partner during this vulnerable period?

We took a novel approach: We examined predictors across multiple relationships, beginning with the first one, and we recruited a diverse sample of young women from a four-year research university, a two-year community college, and community sites serving low-income young women.

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Months After #MeToo, Millions Still Searching Online For Help Against Sexual Violence

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

John W. Ayers, PhD, MA Vice Chief of Innovation | Assoc. Professor Div. Infectious Disease & Global Public Health University of California San Diego

Dr. Ayers

John W. Ayers, PhD, MA
Vice Chief of Innovation | Assoc. Professor
Div. Infectious Disease & Global Public Health
University of California San Diego

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  

Response: The greatest barrier to understanding trends around sexual violence is they are largely hidden because victims are unable speak up publicly.

Moreover, ongoing monitoring relies on proxies that underreport the
scale of the problem such as police or medical records where only the
most severe instances or a fraction of all instances of sexual
violence are represented. As a result, we know very little about the
scale of America’s sexual violence problem.

It was this backdrop that inspired #MeToo to call on victims to
publicly voice their stories thereby revealing the scale of the
problem. Our goal was to, for the first time, assess how this change
inspired the public to engage with sexual violence issues.

By tracking private aggregate internet search query trends we can
begin to understand the scale of public engagement with issues around
sexual violence including the precise motivation for a search, such as
reporting episodes of sexual violence or learning how to prevent
sexual violence.

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