Sexual assault is a traumatic experience for any woman. Furthermore, many victims who tell others about their assault must endure a 'second assault' in the form of negative reactions, such as victim blaming and disbelief. One third to two thirds of victims may experience such reactions, which have negative mental and physical health effects on the victims. This book provides a comprehensive look at women's rape disclosure, addressing such issues as why, how often, and to whom women disclose their sexual assault; how people respond to disclosures; what factors influence how they respond to disclosures; and how these responses affect survivors. With an ecological approach, the book considers the social context of rape, arguing that negative social reactions emanate from broader social norms and attitudes about rape. Multiple perspectives are considered, including those of survivors, informal support providers (family, friends, and intimate partners), and formal support providers (therapists, victim advocates, and others). Finally, recommendations for research, treatment, and intervention are provided.
Powerful, insightful, and provocative, this book is essential reading for everyone who works with sexual assault victims, including therapists, health care workers, victim advocates, rape researchers, policy makers, and students in any of these fields.