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Sexual Assault in Maryland: The African American Experience

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2006
106 pages
This federally supported report presents the results of a need assessment conducted of African-American and White female residents of Maryland who have been sexually assaulted.
The general overall findings of the study did not amplify any statistically significant differences in the experience of African-American and White women who had experienced sexual assault. There was a failure to prove the eight hypotheses which might have been related to the small sample size of the women interviewed. However, there were several findings that underscored prior research on the experience of sexual assault survivors and suggest further research or indicate future policy development. Highlights of the findings include: (1) 69 percent of study participants knew the perpetrator; (2) survivors took an extended period of time to access psychological services after an assault with nearly 67 percent taking more than a year; (3) African-American survivors were significantly less likely to receive services from a sexual assault crisis center, less likely to receive counseling services from sources other than a sexual assault crisis center, and less likely to obtain services from a therapist or counselor; and (4) for those African-American survivors who received counseling services, 96 percent were either satisfied or very satisfied. Today sexual assault is viewed as a public health crisis. However, literature exploring post-assault responses, consequences, and barriers to reporting and help seeking behavior among different ethnic groups is limited. The three goals of the study were to: better understand the problem of sexual assault among African-American women in Maryland; assess their use of available resources in response to sexual assault; and explore their use of alternative sources of care. Through 222 interviews, the study explored 8 specific hypotheses with the expectation that there would be substantial differences in victimization and the manner in which systems responded to the two ethnic groups. Tables, references and appendixes A-D

Date Published: March 1, 2006