Unacknowledged Rape in the Community: Rape Characteristics and Adjustment

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Abstract

Unacknowledged rape, labeling a rape as a nonvictimizing event, remains largely unstudied among non-college women. This study therefore sought to examine differences in assault characteristics, adjustment, and disclosure by rape acknowledgment status among a sample of lower income rape victims (n =104) recruited from a reproductive health clinic (mean age = 28.8 years). Although unacknowledged rape was infrequent (17.1% of victims), unacknowledged victims reported that the perpetrator used less force and were less likely to have assertively resisted, as compared to acknowledged victims. There were no significant differences in disclosure, depression, and somatic complaints between unacknowledged and acknowledged rape victims. Implications of the findings for understanding rape acknowledgment and postrape adjustment among community women are discussed.

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