U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Receipt of Post-Rape Medical Care in a National Sample of Female Victims

NCJ Number
American Journal of Preventive Medicine Volume: 43 Issue: 2 Dated: August 2012 Pages: 183-187
Date Published
August 2012
5 pages

This paper reports on a study that examined the prevalence and factors associated with post-rape, medical care-seeking in a national sample of women; the authors present their research methodology, sample criteria, outcomes, and policy implications.


It is important for rape victims to receive medical care to prevent and treat rape-related diseases and injuries, access forensic exams, and connect to needed resources. Few victims seek care, and factors associated with post-rape medical care–seeking are poorly understood. The current study examined prevalence and factors associated with post-rape medical care–seeking in a national sample of women who reported a most-recent or only incident of forcible rape, and drug- or alcohol-facilitated/incapacitated rape when they were aged 14 years or older. A national sample of U.S. adult women completed structured telephone interviews in 2006, and data for this study were analyzed in 2011. Logistic regression analyses examined demographic variables, health, rape characteristics, and post-rape concerns in relation to post-rape medical care–seeking among 445 female rape victims. A minority of rape victims (21 percent) sought post-rape medical attention following the incident. In the final multivariate model, correlates of medical care included black race, rape-related injury, concerns about sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy concerns, and reporting the incident to police. Women who experience rapes consistent with stereotypic scenarios, acknowledge the rape, report the rape, and harbor health concerns appear to be more likely to seek post-rape medical services. Education is needed to increase rape acknowledgment, awareness of post-rape services that do not require formal reporting, and recognition of the need to treat rape-related health problems. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: August 1, 2012