Child Abuse Sexual Assault

Full-Text Friday: Multiple Perpetrator Assaults

This week’s Full-Text Friday offering addresses the issue of multiple perpetrator rapes of adolescent girls (sad commentary: I can’t combine those words in the title of this post because of the disgusting trolls that come out of the woodwork). I hear a lot of speculative testimony, and occasionally it is about expectations of injury following sexual assault by multiple assailants. There’s not a ton of research on this topic, so I am pleased to offer this article up as a way to help inform us about the clinical picture of this patient population:

Citation: Edinburgh, L., Pape-Blabolil, J., Harpin, S.B., & Saewyc, E. (available online 2 June 2014). Multiple perpetrator rape among girls evaluated at a hospital-based Child Advocacy Center: Seven years of reviewed cases. Child Abuse & Neglect [corrected proof]

Why this article? Even though the sample size is small, the study allows us to understand context for these types of assaults, patient impact, and corresponding healthcare issues. Injury is not the only aspect of health on which the authors focus; sexually transmitted infection exposure is also examined. Because there is so little research in this area, any information that helps us understand how to attend to the needs of these particular patients is immensely useful.

Key quote: Probably the most important quotes come from the qualitative data collected by the study’s authors. However, I know many of you are interested in the quantitative data, so I give you this: “In our study, genital injuries were observed in 30% of victims…We detected STIs in 37.5% of victims…This underscores the importance of prompt physical and gynecologic examination of victims to maximize accurate and complete medical documentation of injuries and infection.” I urge you not to gloss over the patient statements included in this article, though–it’s pretty compelling information.