Get access

SEQUELAE OF ABUSE: Health Effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse, Domestic Battering, and Rape

Authors

  • Diane K. Bohn DNSc, CNM,

    Corresponding authorSearch for more papers by this author
    • Diane K. Bohn has been active in the battered women's arena for 9 years as nurse counselor in a hospital-based family violence program, battered women's shelter advocate, author, researcher, and educator of health professionals, and as a CNM in clinical practice, currently with Twin Cities OB-GYN in Shoreview, Minnesota. Her work is focused on the health effects of abuse and battering during pregnancy and the role of the health care professional. She currently holds office as President of the Nursing Network on Violence Against Women, International, and as Chair of the ACNM Domestic Violence Ad Hoc Committee and is Advisory Committee Member/Consultant for the ACNM Special Projects Section Domestic Violence Project.

  • Karen A. Holz CNM, MS

    Search for more papers by this author
    • Karen A. Holz opened the first midwifery practice in Brunswick, Maine, in 1990, where she worked with many sexually abused women. She has since conducted workshops and seminars and published on the topic of health care issues for survivors of sexual abuse. She is currently employed with Coastal Physician Services, Alexandria Hospital, Alexandria, Virginia, and has a private practice, the Survivors' Alternative, for women with abuse histories. She is a member of the ACNM Domestic Violence Ad Hoc Committee and is Advisory Committee Member/Consultant for the ACNM Special Projects Section Domestic Violence Project.


Diane K. Bohn, DNSc. CNM, 922 Maine St. NE #1, Minneapolis, MN 55413.

ABSTRACT

Violence against women is endemic in the United States. One third to one half of all women will experience one or more types of abuse in their lifetime, most often at the hands of a family member or an intimate or formerly intimate partner. One in 12 women is battered during pregnancy. Abuse survivors are disproportionately frequent users of health care services because of acute and chronic physical, somatic, emotional, and behavioral sequelae of abuse. Health care practitioners are often the first contact abuse survivors have with a potentially helping professional. It is, therefore, essential that health care providers learn to identify and to intervene appropriately with survivors of abuse. This article reviews and compares the health effects of three of the most common types of violence against women: childhood sexual abuse, domestic battering, and rape. Sequelae are divided into six categories: physical/medical, somatic, emotional/psychological, social/interpersonal, behavioral/sexual, and pregnancy-related effects. The health effects discussed in this article include research findings, as well as effects noted in clinical practice. Recommendations are made for routine screening of all women for past and current abuse, as well as for intervention strategies.

Ancillary