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Keywords:

  • rape;
  • traumatic stress;
  • effects of violence;
  • victimization

Abstract

Rape is a stressor that legitimately can be included in experiences that cause post-traumatic stress. A review of the professional literature on rape shows evidence for each of the criteria for PTSD. A sample of convenience of 29 rape victims showed a range of PTSD patterns, but 25 (86%) were either moderately or severely stressed. Victims consistently scored higher on standard stress measures than normal or out-patient samples. Implications of the study are discussed in terms of reframing the rape victim's experience as a response to traumatic stress.