#metoo? The association between sexual violence history and parturients’ gynecological health and mental well-being

Tamar Razi, Asnat Walfisch, Eyal Sheiner, Lareen Abd Elrahim, Sana Zahalka, Aya Abdallah, Tamar Wainstock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Sexual violence is a global health problem. We aimed to evaluate the association between self-reported history of sexual violence and parturients’ health behaviors, focusing on routine gynecological care, and mental well-being. Methods: This was a retrospective questionnaire-based study, including mothers of newborns delivered at the “Soroka” University Medical Center (SUMC). Participants were asked to complete three validated questionnaires, including: screening for sexual violence history (SES), post-traumatic stress disorder (PDS) and post-partum depression (EPDS). Additionally, a demographic, pregnancy and gynecological history data questionnaire was completed, and medical record summarized. Multiple analyses were performed, comparing background and outcome variables across the different SES severity levels. Multivariable regression models were constructed, while adjusting for confounding variables. Results: The study included 210 women. Of them, 26.3% (n = 57) reported unwanted sexual encounter, 23% (n = 50) reported coercion, 1.8% (n = 4) assault and attempted rape, and 1.4% (n = 3) reported rape. A significant association was found between sexual violence history and neglected gynecological care, positive EPDS screening, and reporting experiencing sexual trauma. Several multivariable regression models were constructed, to assess independent associations between sexual violence history and gynecological health-care characteristics, as well as EPDS score. Sexual violence history was found to be independently and significantly associated with a negative relationship with the gynecologist, avoidance of gynecological care, sub-optimal routine gynecological follow-up, and seeking a gynecologist for acute symptoms (adjusted OR = 0.356; 95% CI 0.169–0.749, adjusted OR = 0.369; 95% CI 0.170–0.804, adjusted OR = 2.255; 95% CI 1.187–4.283, and adjusted OR = 2.113; 95% CI 1.085–4.111, respectively), as well as with the risk of post-partum depression (adjusted OR = 4.46; 95% CI 2.03–9.81). All models adjusted for maternal age and ethnicity. Conclusion: Sexual violence history is extremely common among post-partum women. It is independently associated with post-partum depression, neglected gynecological care, a negative relationship with the gynecologist, and with reporting of experiencing sexual trauma. Identifying populations at risk and taking active measures, may reduce distress and improve emotional well-being and family function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-393
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Volume304
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2021

Keywords

  • Gynecological care
  • Post-partum depression
  • Prenatal care
  • Sexual trauma
  • Sexual violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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