Sexual Assault And Harassment May Have Lasting Health Repercussions For Women

The trauma of sexual assault or harassment is not only hard to forget; it may also leave lasting effects on a woman’s health. This finding of a study published Wednesday adds support to a growing body of evidence suggesting the link.

In the study of roughly 300 middle-aged women, an experience of sexual assault was associated with anxiety, depression and poor sleep. A history of workplace sexual harassment was also associated with poor sleep and with an increased risk of developing high blood pressure.

“These are experiences that [a woman] could have had long ago … and it can have this long arm of influence throughout a woman’s life,” says Rebecca Thurston, lead author of the study, and a research psychologist and director of the Women’s Behavioral Health Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh.

Full story at npr.org

15 Percent of Women Raped While Incapacitated by Alcohol or Drugs in Freshman Year

A new study finds 15 percent of college women report having been raped while incapacitated from alcohol or other drugs during their freshman year, Newsweek reports.

Freshmen women who had been victims of incapacitated rape before starting college were at increased risk. Almost 18 percent of young women reported incapacitated rape (IR) before starting college, and about 41 percent of those women were raped again while incapacitated during their freshman year, the study found.

“The pre-college assessment went back to as early as age 14,” lead researcher Kate Carey of Brown University School of Public Health said in a news release. “That suggests that sexual assault education needs to begin earlier.”

Full story of college freshman raped under alcohol and drugs at drugfree.org

Sexual, emotional abuse scar the brain in specific ways

Childhood emotional and sexual abuse mark women’s brains in distinct patterns — with emotional abuse affecting regions involved in self-awareness and sexual abuse affecting areas involved in genital sensation, according to new research.

The study links specific types of abuse with symptoms experienced by many survivors later in life.

The research, which was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, imaged the brains of 51 women in Atlanta who were taking part in a larger project on the effects of early trauma.

Twenty-eight of the participants had been seriously maltreated as children, suffering from various combinations of neglect and emotional, physical and sexual abuse. The other 23 experienced either no maltreatment or next to nothing. The women ranged in age from 18 to 45, but the average age was 27.

A standard questionnaire on childhood trauma was used to assess the women’s early-childhood experiences, and their brains were scanned to measure the thickness of various regions of the cortex.

Cortical thickness is linked to brain development, with thicker regions generally suggesting healthier growth. Brains, like muscles, develop through use — so regions that have been “exercised” more tend to be bigger.

Full story of sex and emotional abuse on the brain at CNN Health

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

One in Three Victims of Teen Dating Violence Has Had More Than One Abuser

Teen Dating Violence Has More AbusersMore than one-third of young adults who reported being victims of dating violence as teenagers had two or more abusive partners, a new study suggests.

The study involved 271 college students who recalled dating violence — including physical, sexual and psychological abuse — from ages 13 to 19.

Overall, nearly two-thirds of both men and women reported some type of abuse during their teenage years, which falls in line with other studies.

But it was surprising how many teen victims had two or more abusive partners, said Amy Bonomi, lead author of the study and associate professor of human development and family science at Ohio State University.

"For about one in three teens who were abused, it wasn’t just one bad boyfriend or girlfriend. It may have been at least the start of a trend," Bonomi said.

Full story of teen dating violence at Science Daily

Photos courtesy of and copyright PhotoPin, http://photopin.com/

Severe Pain in Sexual Assault Survivors Often Not Treated

Sexual Assault Survivors Not TreatedA majority of sexual assault victims experience severe pain in the early aftermath of the crime but less than a third of these victims receive pain medications, according to research in The Journal of Pain, the peer review publication of the American Pain Society.

One in five U.S women experiences a sexual assault in their lifetimes. Like other physical trauma, severe acute pain occurs in sexual assault cases. When physical trauma is limited, factors such as stress-induced hyperalgesia may contribute to post-assault pain. Researchers from the University of North Carolina evaluated the distribution and severity of pain in sexual assault victims who presented for medical care from sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) programs.

This was the first prospective study of pain symptoms in the early aftermath of sexual assault. Female sexual assault survivors 18 years and older who sought a SANE evaluation within 48 hours of the crime were recruited for the study. The subjects were questioned about pain intensity in eight body regions and asked to rate pain severity on a 1- to-10 scale.

Full story of sexual assault survivors at Science Daily

Photos courtesy of and copyright PhotoPin, http://photopin.com/