To Tell or Not to Tell

Violence Against Women. 2016 Nov;22(13):1499-1518. doi: 10.1177/1077801215627507. Epub 2016 Mar 28.


The underreporting of rape is well known; however, there is less information on women who fail to disclose to anyone. This online study suggests that 24% of 242 women who were non-disclosing compared with those who had disclosed were significantly less likely to seek treatment for emotional injuries. Also, almost two thirds of non-disclosing women believed the abuse was their fault versus 39.1% of women with prior disclosure. Of clinical interest is that regardless of disclosure pattern, there was no significant difference in reports of depression, anxiety, or posttraumatic stress disorder, and the majority of respondents endorsed support for online counseling over telephone or individual contact.

Keywords: anxiety; depression; disclosure; rape.

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced / adverse effects
  • Abortion, Induced / psychology
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / complications
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / complications
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Rape / psychology*
  • Self Report / standards*
  • Social Stigma
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / etiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Truth Disclosure*