Gender-based sexual violence is a widespread public health problem affecting people of all ages and from diverse backgrounds. Although both women and men experience sexual trauma across countries and contexts (e.g., military vs. civilian), prevalence rates of sexual trauma are higher among women, and women and girls may often be targeted due to their sex and rigidly held beliefs about gender roles. Experiences of sexual violence can have a myriad of negative outcomes for survivors, including implications for mental health and physical health difficulties. The content of this book encompasses a foundation for understanding the impact of gender-based sexual violence, common mental and physical health difficulties associated sexual assault, and trauma-informed care. This volume also addresses evidence-based psychotherapies for trauma survivors as well as emotional difficulties that may affect providers who work with this population (e.g., burnout, secondary traumatic stress). After reading this book, the authors hope readers have a deeper understanding of gender-based sexual violence and can meaningfully apply the practical skills provided throughout this text, whether in support of loved ones or in their daily work. Finally, the authors hope all readers experience decreased stigma, including self-stigma, related to gender-based violence.
Nicole A. Sciarrino is a licensed clinical psychologist and military sexual trauma (MST) coordinator for the Department of Veterans Affairs in a PTSD clinical team.
Brittany C. Davis is assistant professor at the University of South Florida’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences and is a clinical psychologist with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Nicole A. Sciarrino
Chapter One: Exploring Sexual Violence in Women Across the Lifespan
Chapter Two: Women in the U.S. Military and an Overview of Military Sexual Trauma
Nicole A. Sciarrino and Ashlee J. Warnecke
Chapter Three: Sexual Violence as a Global Epidemic: An Overview of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence and Sexual Violence in Other Vulnerable Populations
Nicole A. Sciarrino and Heather N. Kacos
Chapter Four: Common Mental Health Difficulties Following Sexual Violence
Nicole A. Sciarrino, Ashlee J. Warnecke, Heather N. Kacos, and Brittany C. Davis
Chapter Five: Common Physical Health Difficulties Following Sexual Violence
Ashlee J. Warnecke
Chapter Six: Overcoming Obstacles to Disclosure & Help-Seeking Behaviors Among Sexual Assault Survivors
Ashlee J. Warnecke and Nicole A. Sciarrino
Chapter Seven: Creating an Environment of Recovery: Delivering Trauma-Informed Care and Engagement in Trauma-Focused Mental Health Treatment
Nicole A. Sciarrino, Ashlee J. Warnecke, and Heather N. Kacos
About the Contributors
If you are looking to learn more about gender-based sexual violence, its consequences, and how providers can promote healing and recovery for survivors of violence, you have come to the right place. This book is a much needed and comprehensive source on gender-based sexual violence that serves to raise awareness of and destigmatize conversations around gender-based sexual violence. Further, it puts forth a call to action that we all have a role in preventing and ending gender-based sexual violence. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about gender-based sexual violence, how we can support and care for those who have experienced it, and how we can advocate for change.
Understanding Gender-Based Sexual Violence against Women and Girls: Breaking the Culture of Silence is comprehensive and informative. It offers both breadth and depth views of gender-based violence throughout the life span and across cultures. In addition, this book includes a thorough discussion of the effects of violence, barriers to care, and treatments that are available. This work is a scholarly compilation of past and current research in the field. The research informs the discussion of the topics in each chapter which are well-written and hold the reader’s interest. This volume is well-suited for an academic library and for inclusion in coursework for students pursuing professions in medical and mental health care. It would also be an informative source for a general audience about gender violence and its prevalence across the lifespan and in the world.
This book is hugely important and should be mandatory reading for healthcare providers from all disciplines—not just psychology and psychiatry. In fact, everyone could benefit from reading this book, as it’s clear that we all regularly interact with survivors of sexual violence in our lives, likely with little awareness or sensitivity to the pervasive impacts of their trauma. This book provides insight into the unique challenges faced by survivors of sexual violence and also gives many valuable and practical suggestions as to how to promote healing.
Emphasizing empiricism, compassion, and advocacy, the authors provide a comprehensive review and synthesis of the literature on gender-based sexual violence against women. Chapter by chapter, the authors confront the culture of silence as they present data on the national and global prevalence of gender-based sexual violence; its psychological, physical, and interpersonal impact; and the relevant historical, social, and legal context. The authors offer hope as they review the behavioral health treatment literature and highlight key considerations for engaging this population in care. Practical suggestions for health care providers who work with women survivors of gender-based sexual violence are integrated throughout. Vital clinical and scientific implications make this a requisite text for practitioners and researchers alike.