University of Texas Study Examines Social and Psychological Impact of Rape

Prior research has shown that victims of rape often suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. But a study conducted by researchers at the University of Texas, and scheduled for publication in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, found that victims of rape face a wide range of psychological and social problems.

Carin Perilloux, a co-author of the study who is now a visiting assistant professor at Union College in Schenectady, New York, states that her results “document that victims of sexual assault, and even victims of attempted sexual assault, suffer psychological and social costs far more ranging than previously suspected.”

Among areas in which researchers found widespread negative consequences were self-esteem, perceived social reputation, sexual desire, and self-perceived mate value or desirability.

But Dr. Perilloux said many of the women’s responses to the survey questions showed some degree of optimism. “Women often show exceptional resilience,” Perilloux said. “With support and assistance, many rape victims may be able to regain normalcy in some of the domains of their lives affected by the victimization.”

Dr. Perilloux is a magna cum laude graduate of Knox College in Illinois. She earned a Ph.D. in evolutionary psychology from the University of Texas. Her co-author is David Buss, professor of psychology at the University of Texas.

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