Rape acknowledgment and sexual victimization
Hammond, Charity B.
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Sexual assault is very prevalent and leads to a number of negative psychological consequences. In attempting to identify risk factors for sexual assault, research has consistently found that a history of previous sexual victimization increases risk for future sexual assault. Previous research has also shown that women with a history of sexual victimization have difficulty identifying risky cues and might not perceive their own vulnerability for future assaults. This study investigates how acknowledgment of previous experiences with interpersonal violence is related to risk perception and rates of victimization. Two hundred eighty-three college women completed assessments of victimization, personal risk appraisal, and acknowledgment. Analyses indicated some differences in rates of victimization based on labeling of experiences and differences in efforts to change behaviors to reduce risk for future assaults based on level of acknowledgment. Also, there were a number of situational factors associated with assaults that were significantly related to likelihood of acknowledgment. These results differed for physical and sexual violence, which is an important consideration because many women experience multiple types of victimization. This study suggests that acknowledgment is an important factor to consider in studies of sexual and physical revictimization.