Characteristics of sexual abuse against pregnant Hispanic women by their male intimates

Judith McFarlane, William Wiist, Mary Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


There have been few research reports on sexual abuse of Hispanic women by their intimate male partners. This study examined the frequency of six types of sexual abuse of 329 pregnant Hispanic women identified during routine prenatal care in public health clinics as physically abused. Threats of abuse, physical abuse, and sexual abuse were measured with the 46-item Severity of Violence Against Women Scale. Comparisons were made between women reporting sexual abuse and those who did not. Thirty-two percent (n = 105) of the women reported sexual abuse by their male partner at least once during the prior 12 months. Sexually abused women reported significantly higher levels of threats of abuse and physical abuse than women not sexually abused. Among the sexually abused women, not living with the abuser was correlated with higher threats of abuse, physical violence, and sexual abuse scores. The results of this study support previous research proposing a continuum of violence and possible escalation of violence when an abused woman leaves her abuser. Additional longitudinal research is needed on psychosocial and behavioral characteristics of sexually abused women, particularly among ethnic minority women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)739-745
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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