Intimate partner sexual violence: a comparison of foreign- versus US-born physically abused Latinas

J Urban Health. 2014 Feb;91(1):122-35. doi: 10.1007/s11524-013-9817-8.


Men's violence against women-particularly intimate partner sexual violence (IPSV)-is associated with the transmission of HIV. Men who physically abuse their female intimate partners often also sexually abuse them. Latinas are one of the fastest growing populations in the USA and at high-risk for contracting HIV, though little is known about IPSV against physically abused Latinas, including whether there is an association between nativity of the victim and the likelihood of sexual violence by intimate partners. This study examined the (1) prevalence of recent (past 6 months) IPSV against 555 physically abused, help-seeking Latinas and (2) relationship of nativity to recent IPSV. This study used data collected in 2002–2003 from participants in one major city on the East Coast and one West Coast county, who were involved in the Risk Assessment Validation (RAVE) Study. The RAVE Study assessed the accuracy of four different methods for predicting risk of future intimate partner violence. IPSV was defined as an abusive male partner physically forcing sex (rape) or making the woman have sex without a condom. Recent IPSV was reported by 38 % of the sample. Among those reporting recent IPSV, multiple assaults were common: 30%of women were raped and 51%were made to have unprotected sex six or more times during the past 6 months. IPSV was significantly associated with nativity. Physically abused Latinas who were foreign born had two times greater odds of reporting recent IPSV than physically abused Latinas born in the USA, after controlling for other demographic covariates. Exploratory post hoc analyses examining all pairwise comparisons of IPSV against Latinas born in the USA, Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean also revealed some significant differences that warrant further study with larger samples. HIV prevention efforts aimed at reducing IPSV in this population are needed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Offenses / ethnology
  • Sex Offenses / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sexual Behavior / ethnology
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sexual Partners*
  • Spouse Abuse / ethnology
  • Spouse Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Young Adult