Association Between Child Sexual Abuse and Sexual Revictimization in Adulthood Among Women Sex Partners of Injection Drug Users


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Abstract

Community-recruited women (n = 1490) were interviewed about their early and adult sexual victimization histories to determine whether there was an association between child sexual abuse and adult revictimization by sex partners and strangers/nonsex partners. Adolescent sexual abuse, lifetime sex-trading, drug treatment, and mental health treatment were examined as mediating variables. One-fourth of the women had been revictimized (i.e., experienced child sexual abuse and at least one instance of adult sexual victimization). Child sexual abuse was associated with both rape and other sexual victimization by a sex partner in adulthood, as well as adult rape by a stranger/nonsex partner. Drug and mental health treatments reduced abused women's chances of being raped by a sex partner; drug treatment also decreased the likelihood of other sexual victimization by a sex partner. Sex-trading increased abused women's likelihood of rape by a stranger or nonsex partner. Intervention— including drug treatment—can help women with child sexual abuse histories overcome some of the abuse-related sequelae that make them vulnerable to adult revictimization.

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