Similarity and Differences in Sexual Violence Against Adolescents and Adult Women: The Need to Focus on Adolescent Victims

Eugenia Torazzi, Vera Merelli, Giussy Barbara, Alessandra Kustermann, Laura Marasciuolo, Federica Collini, Cristina Cattaneo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Study Objective: To explore whether there are differences in characteristics, clinical findings and management in cases of sexual violence in adolescent and adult women. Design: Retrospective study. Setting: SVSeD–Service for Sexual and Domestic Violence, Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan, Italy. Participants: Female victims of sexual violence aged 10 years and older. Two study groups were analysed: an adolescent group and an adult group. Interventions: None; this was an observational study. Main Outcome Measures: Characteristics of the perpetrator, time spent between the episode of sexual violence and the access to SVSeD, presence of genital and/or extragenital injuries; tests for sexually transmitted diseases, spermatozoa research; and toxicological screening; Results: Adolescent victims of sexual violence requested help later than the adult victims. The majority of the perpetrators were well known to the victims in both groups. In both groups, we observed genital injuries in 1 of 3 patients. We found a strong association between the presence of genital injuries and a positive screening test for sexually transmitted diseases, in particular with regard to the adolescent victims. Conclusion: Adolescents’ delayed disclosure of sexual violence may affect the ability to properly manage these crimes. Prevention programs and public awareness campaigns should be implemented to highlight the importance of a prompt disclosure after sexual assault has occurred. Gynecologists should be made increasingly aware of this delicate issue, to better assist victims of sexual violence, especially adolescent victims.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Gender violence
  • Sexual abuse
  • Sexual violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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