Dangerous Safe Havens: Institutional Betrayal Exacerbates Sexual Trauma


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Carly Parnitzke Smith, Department of Psychology, 1227 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-1227. E-mail: carlys@uoregon.edu


Research has documented the profound negative impact of betrayal within experiences of interpersonal trauma such as sexual assault (Freyd, 1994, 1996; Freyd, DePrince, & Gleaves, 2007). In the current study of college women (N = 345, 79% Caucasian; mean age = 19.69 years, SD = 2.55), we examined whether institutional failure to prevent sexual assault or respond supportively when it occurs may similarly exacerbate posttraumatic symptomatology—what we call “institutional betrayal.” Almost half (47%) of the women reported at least one coercive sexual experience and another 21% reported no coercion, but at least one unwanted sexual experience (total reporting unwanted sexual experiences, N = 233). Institutional betrayal (e.g., creating an environment where these experiences seemed more likely, making it difficult to report these experiences) was reported across different unwanted sexual experiences (47% and 45% of women reporting coercion and no coercion, respectively). Those women who reported institutional betrayal surrounding their unwanted sexual experience reported increased levels of anxiety (R2 = .10), trauma-specific sexual symptoms (R2 = .17), dissociation (R2 = .11), and problematic sexual functioning (R2 = .12). These results suggest that institutions have the power to cause additional harm to assault survivors.

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撮要:以往研究紀錄了諸如性侵犯之類人際創傷的經歷中背叛的震撼負面影響(Freyd,1994;1996; 2009, Freyd, DePrince & Gleaves, 2007)。這個專上學院婦女(N = 345, 79%白種人,平均年齡19.69歲, SD = 2.55)的研究樣本中,「體制背叛」即體制未能防止性侵犯,或提供其後的支援和回應,可加劇創傷後症狀。約半數(47%)婦女報告曾有最少一次強制性經驗,而有21%則有最少一次非自願性經驗但沒有任何強制性經驗(總報告非自願性經驗,N = 233)。在不同非自願性經驗中(47%婦女報告被強制而45%則非強制)都有「體制背叛」(如環境令此類經驗似較易發生,或令人難以舉報此類經驗)。對報告遭遇非自願性經驗及有「體制背叛」的女士而言,她們有較多焦慮(R2 = .10),創傷專属性方面症狀(R2 = .17),解離(R2 = .11)和性功能障礙(R2 = .12)。結果展示體制對創傷生還者能帶來額外的傷害。


撮要:以往研究纪录了诸如性侵犯之类人际创伤的经历中背叛的震撼负面影响(Freyd,1994;1996; 2009, Freyd, DePrince & Gleaves, 2007)。这个专上学院妇女(N = 345, 79%白种人,平均年龄19.69岁, SD = 2.55)的研究样本中,「体制背叛」即体制未能防止性侵犯,或提供后续的支持和回应,可加剧创伤后症状。约半数(47%)妇女报告曾有最少一次强制性经验,而有21%则有最少一次非自愿性经验但没有任何强制性经验(总报告非自愿性经验,N = 233)。在不同非自愿性经验中(47%妇女报告被强迫而45%则非强迫)都有「体制背叛」(如创造一个令此类经验似较容易发生的环境,或令人难以举报此类经验)。对报告遭遇非自愿性经验及有「体制背叛」的女士而言,她们有较多焦虑(R2 = .10),创伤专属性方面症状(R2 = .17),解离(R2 = .11)和性功能障碍(R2 = .12)。结果展示体制对创伤生还者能带来额外的伤害。