Sexual Assault: Where Are Mid-Life Women in the Research?
Conflict of Interest Statement
The authors report no actual or potential conflicts of interest.
There is extensive literature related to the experience of sexual assault of women with a majority focused on younger women, college-aged women, or older women. There is little research about the experience of sexual assault of mid-life women.
Design and Methods
This paper synthesizes the current literature associated with sexual assault by describing the increased number of single women in the population, defining terms associated with sexual assault, examining rape myths, characteristics of the victim, describing the relationship of victim to assailant, extent of victimization experienced by women, common physical injuries, age-related physiological changes, psychological considerations, and post-traumatic stress disorder specific to mid-life women.
The population of single women has increased across the life span. Current studies utilize varying definitions of sexual assault, examine results across variable age groups, and include the responses of single women with married women. Characteristics of victims demonstrate similarities by age group, relationship type, living conditions, and physical or mental capabilities that affect the occurrence of sexual assault.
There are few studies that examine the sexual assault experiences of single mid-life women. Further research into the experiences of single mid-life women is warranted to provide direction for nursing education programs and clinical practice.