Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of a sexual assault history among women with and without 3 common gynecologic complaints: dysmenorrhea, menorrhagia, and sexual dysfunction.
Study design: Data came from 3 surveys of women randomly selected from general populations: 2 United States regional samples (n = 1428 and n = 1703) and 1 national sample (n = 963). Prevalence rates and adjusted odds ratios were calculated and combined across the 3 samples with a meta-analysis.
Results: The prevalence of an assault history ranged from 6% to 26% among women with 1 symptom to 13% to 40% among women with 3 symptoms. Symptoms were associated with increased odds of an assault history for women 18 to 34 years old (odds ratio 1.90, 95% confidence interval 1.56 to 2.32), 35 to 44 years old (odds ratio 1.99, 95% confidence interval 1.57 to 2.53), and >54 years old (odds ratio 1.37, 95% confidence interval 1.04 to 1.80). Symptoms were unrelated to sexual assault history for women in the perimenopausal (45 to 54 years) age group (odds ratio 0.94, 95% confidence interval 0.71 to 1.24). Symptom level was unrelated to having disclosed assaults to a physician (odds ratio 1.17, 95% confidence interval 0.85 to 1.62).
Conclusions: Women in the general population with common gynecologic complaints are at a substantially increased risk of having a history of sexual assault.