Background: Rape has a negative impact on physical and mental health, health-related behaviors, and health service utilization. Timely medical care is important for preventive services.
Methods: Cross-sectional data were obtained from a larger 2-year longitudinal study, the National Women's Study (NWS). A total of 3006 adult women participated in the final data collection wave of the NWS. During a structured telephone interview, women who reported a most-recent or only rape incident during adulthood were asked about rape characteristics, reporting to authorities, medical care, and rape-related concerns. The main outcome measures were receipt and timing of medical care received after an adult rape, and factors influencing whether or not medical care was received.
Results: Of the sample, 214 (7.1%) had experienced a most-recent or only rape as an adult (aged >/=18), and 56 (26.2%) received rape-related medical care following that incident. The final model multivariable logistic regression indicated that reporting the crime to police or other authorities (odds ratio [OR], 9.45; 95% confidence interval [CI]=3. 34-26.70) and fear of sexually transmitted diseases (OR, 8.61; 95% CI=3.12-23.72) were significant predictors of receipt of post-rape medical care.
Conclusions: One in five victims reported an adult rape to police or other authorities; these women were nine times more likely to receive medical care than those who did not. Public health efforts are needed to increase the proportion of rape victims who receive immediate post-rape medical care.