Abused women are 1.5 to 3.0 times as likely as women never abused
to have a health problem. These long-term difficulties may be (beyond
injuries from abuse) pain, dizziness, gynecological conditions, abortions, and
mental problems, including suicide. So the connection between stress and
health is seen again.
Women living in a rich country who had been abused were less likely
to still be being abused. Apparently, when they can escape, a percentage do
How common is wife rape?
Several studies have found that about 10% to 15% of women who have been
married report being sexually assaulted by husbands or ex-husbands (Rape in
America, 1992, National Victim Center). These figures may be low because
women are less likely to consider sexual assaults by husbands as rape.
Laws against rape in marriage have only been passed in recent decades. That
is strange, because the use of force and threats to have sex with someone is
wrong, it doesnt matter if the woman is pulled into an alley and raped by a
total stranger or if an angry husband demands sex now or if a date insists on
scoring. It is all rape. Wife rape is reported by 50% of women in shelters.
Abuse within the family
About 10% of all violent crime is family violence (committed by someone
within the family). Much abuse is still hidden, not only is marital abuse kept a
secret but sibling abuse is also. Within the privacy of our homes and even
unknown to the parents, brothers and sisters physically, emotionally, and
sexually mistreat each other (Wiehe, 1990). Some good news is that family
violence has declined in the last 10-15 years along with an overall reduction
in violent crimes.
Recently several studies have looked at the long-range consequences of
abuse or adverse childhood experiences. This includes a wide variety of
hurtful, stressful events for childrenactually if a child has suffered one
abusive experience, that child has an 80% increased risk of being abused in
some other way as well. There are more of these bad experiences than most
of us realize, e.g. more than half of middle-class children enrolled in the
Kaiser Permanente plan has had one such experience, one in four children
have had two types of abusive experiences, one in 16 have experienced four
types of harm. Then when abused children are followed over 50 years or so, a
remarkable array of health, psychological, and behavioral consequences are
found (more in formerly abused children than other children). Examples: they
smoke more, have more depression, experienced more anger, are more
abused by partners, have attempted suicide more often, used more illegal
drugs, have heart disease, diabetes, obesity, alcoholism, and do more poorly
in their job (Sawires, 2003). There are several other long-term studies that
confirm these findings. Even though we are forewarned, our physical and
psychological professionals are not good at prevention.