Sexual violence

Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol. 2006 Jun;20(3):395-408. doi: 10.1016/j.bpobgyn.2006.01.011. Epub 2006 Mar 24.


Gender-based violence is related to the power imbalance between men and women that is present, to a greater or lesser degree, in all societies. It was recognized as a human rights problem by the United Nations relatively recently. It includes emotional, physical and sexual violence. Sexual violence is the extreme form of gender-based violence, usually accompanied by the other types of violence. Its prevalence is difficult to determine, but it is likely to affect at least one-third of women at some time in their life. It has multiple effects on women's physical and gynaecological health, and these depend greatly on the quality of care that women receive immediately after the assault. Unfortunately, most emergency health services, including those in women's hospitals, are not prepared to provide the correct care for these women. Care should be multidisciplinary and should involve crisis treatment, meticulous clinical examination with complementary auxiliary methods, treatment of physical lesions, prevention of pregnancy and transmission of sexually transmitted infections, and follow-up for at least 6 months after the assault.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Crime Victims* / psychology
  • Crime Victims* / rehabilitation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Unwanted
  • Sex Offenses* / psychology
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / prevention & control
  • Violence* / psychology
  • Women's Health
  • Women's Rights