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Assessing the Prevalence of Martial Rape

NCJ Number
Journal of Interpersonal Violence Volume: 1 Issue: 3 Dated: (September 1986) Pages: 350-362
C R Hanneke; N M Shields; G J McCall
Date Published
13 pages
The prevalence rate of marital rape and its co-occurrence with nonsexual violence (battering) were investigated using a questionnaire survey and interviews with women in the St. Louis, Mo., area.
Of 671 questionnaires returned by family planning agency, university, and newspaper survey respondents, only 307 were from women who had been married or cohabited and whose responses were complete enough for analysis. Of these, 30.9 percent had experienced some form of violence in their most recent relationship. Overall, 69.1 percent were nonvictims, 1 percent had been raped only, 7.8 percent had been raped and battered, and 22.1 percent had been battered only. Of 132 women referred to the study by agencies, programs, advertisements, and letters, 28.8 percent were nonvictims, 3.8 percent were raped only, 30.3 percent were raped and battered, and 37.1 percent were battered only. Taken together, findings suggest that marital rape unaccompanied by physical violence is a relatively rare phenomenon. Prevalence rates from the present and previous research showing an average incidence of about 10 percent suggest that this is a serious mental health problem. The very high prevalence of marital rape among battered women (one-third to one-half) suggests closer attention to the special needs of these victims by helping professionals. 14 references and 1 note.


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