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Keywords:

  • childhood abuse;
  • revictimization;
  • rape;
  • sexual assault

Abstract

To examine effects of childhood abuse on adult rape, 1,887 female Navy recruits were surveyed. Overall 35% of recruits had been raped and 57% had experienced childhood physical abuse (CPA) and/or childhood sexual abuse (CSA). Controlling for CPA, rape was significantly (4.8 times) more likely among women who had experienced CSA than among women who had not. In contrast, CPA (controlling for CSA) was unrelated to likelihood of adult rape. Alcohol problems and number of sex partners were examined as mediators. Although both variabies predicted rape, their effects were independent of the effects of CSA. Finally, despite ethnic group differences in the prevalence of victimization, the predictors of rape did not differ significantly across ethnic groups.