• Injury;
  • postmenopausal;
  • rape;
  • sexual assault

Please cite this paper as: Morgan L, Dill A, Welch J. Sexual assault of postmenopausal women: a retrospective review. BJOG 2011;118:832–843.

Objective  To determine whether postmenopausal women have a greater susceptibility to genital and extragenital injuries as a result of sexual assault.

Design  Retrospective review of patient notes.

Setting  The Havens sexual assault referral centres, Camberwell and Paddington, London, UK.

Population  A total of 122 postmenopausal and 130 premenopausal women.

Methods  Eligible women were identified. Standardised Haven forms completed during forensic examination were retrieved for each participant, and relevant information was extrapolated to study forms.

Main outcome measures  Demographic and assault-related characteristics, prevalence of genital and extragenital injury, type, size and location of injury, and logistic regression predicting study group.

Results  37% of postmenopausal women and 17% of premenopausal women sustained genital injury (multivariate analysis OR 3.31, 95% CI 1.39–7.91), and 71% of postmenopausal women and 69% of premenopausal women were found to have extragenital injury (univariate analysis OR 1.35, 95% CI 0.79–2.32, not significant). Of those with extragenital injury, 41.4% of postmenopausal women and 20.9% of premenopausal women sustained large bruises (< 0.01).

Conclusions  When controlling for the effects of demographic and assault-related characteristics, postmenopausal women were more than three times more likely to sustain genital injury than premenopausal women following a sexual assault. No significant difference between the two groups was found for extragenital injuries; however, of those who sustained an extragenital injury, postmenopausal women were significantly more likely to have large bruises than premenopausal women.