Physical and sexual abuse: A middle-class concern?

C. B. Smikle, A. J. Satin, C. L. Dellinger, G. D.V. Hankins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This study evaluated the prevalence of physical and/or sexual abuse in a population of employed, middle-class women who all have access to health care. Questionnaires were given to all patients who came to the ambulatory gynecology clinic at Wilford Hall Medical Center from October 19, 1992, to November 13, 1992. Questions were asked to ascertain the number of women who had experienced at least one episode of forced sexual contact or physical abuse. Other questions allowed identification of the relationship of the assailant to the respondent, number of occurrences and injuries resulting from the abuse. Of the 531 women who responded, 72 reported a history of only physical abuse, and 37 reported a history of only sexual abuse. Forty women reported that they were both physically and sexually abused. The typical victim of abuse was younger (32.6 vs. 39.8 years old, P < .001) and was more likely to work outside the home (63.1% vs. 47.9%, P < .005). Women were significantly more likely to be battered by a husband or lover than to be sexually assaulted by an intimate partner (75% vs. 16%, P< .001). Women who were both physically and sexually abused were injured more often than women who were only physically or sexually abused (60% vs. 28%, P < .01, and 60% vs. 24%, P < .01, respectively). Victims abused by an intimate partner were more likely to be abused on more than one occasion. All women should be asked about a recent history of abuse so that individuals identified can be counseled appropriately and attempts can be made to intervene to prevent further episodes of abuse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-350
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Reproductive Medicine for the Obstetrician and Gynecologist
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • spouse abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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