Updated September 12, 2022

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Sexual Violence in an African-American Community

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Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Sexual Violence in an African-American Community essay
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In the United States being sexually assaulted or have sexual violence done is usually by an acquaintance or family member. There is a difference between being sexually assaulted and sexual violence. Being sexually violated is penetration into the mouth, anal, or vagina. Sexually assaulted is attempted rape, and unwanted sexual contact. Within the united states Women 18.3% and men 1.4% report rape; and 40.2% women and 4.2% of men report being sexually assaulted. The more violent the assault is the higher the chances are of having sever Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Also, in the African-American community reporting this to law enforcement is less likely than our counterparts.

Literature Review

In this study we have found multiple studies done on the connection of sexual assault and PTSD. With less information on the actual effects on African Americans because of not being reported to the police we still know from the information we do have connection with sexual violence and posttraumatic stress disorder. African-Americans usually don’t report or tell anyone is because they don’t think that the police or their family will believe them especially if it’s a family member. We also tend to keep that on the hush side because we don’t want people looking at us like it was our fault.


The population sample was 1,547 for the Detroit Neighborhood Health Study. 1,306 of those participants were African-American and 18 years of age or older. The study took place from the fall of 2008 to the spring of 2009. To be considered for this study you had to have a reaction to one or both questions. The first question was “In your lifetime have you ever been raped?” The second question “or experienced any other kind of sexual assault?” They were asked about 19 traumatic events and after identifying the worst one they all usually said being sexually assaulted. After identifying being sexually assault or violated being the worst they were asked to think about the time right after the event happened. They were asked to rate their symptoms on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being “not at all bothered” and 5 being “extremely bothered”. They also asked how long did these symptoms last. They used the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV). Other things being looked at during this study was age, sex, ethnicity, income level, amount of education, marital status, and other traumatic events.


Out of the 1,306 African-American participants, 235 of them were victims of either sexual assault or sexual violence. 85.3% (204) of the 235 of those victims were women while the other 14.7% (31) was males. Within the victim’s column 46.1% (142) of them had some college, college, or a grad degree. 32.7% (58) were high school graduates or had their GED. Less than a high school graduate was 21.2% (35). If you made $35,000 or more was 29.3% (68), $15,000-$35,000 was 27.8% (57), and anything under $15,000 was at 42.9% (87). Married people were 29.8%, divorced/separated/widowed was 27.5% (83), and never married 42.7% (98). Employed 59.7% (90) and unemployed 40.3% (142). Any sexual violence 16.4% (235). Rape 9.4% (139). Sexual assault 12.0% (174). Lifetime PTSD 14.9% (185). Past 30-days PTSD 7.6% (93).


The study shows the commonness of sexual violence, sexual assault and PTSD in a large sample of African-Americans. A key finding was that African-American reported lower commonness of sexual violence 16.1% and a lower commonness of sexual assault of 19.1% compared to the information obtained from a representative study of sexual violence 18.3% and sexual assault with 40.2%. Also, that sexual violence was greatly associated with lifetime PTSD. It also shows that prior studies that show demographics are associated with sexual violence were correct.

This study got my attention because sexual violence and sexual assault is not talked about within the African-American community. This study should us that sexual violence and sexual assault is greatly related to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. This study could have asked what age the traumatic event happened, for us to get more information on the age group it happens the most. Also, different treatments we could try to do for younger victims without just giving them medicine and with the older victims too.

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Sexual Violence in an African-American Community essay

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Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Sexual Violence in an African-American Community. (2022, Sep 12). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/posttraumatic-stress-disorder-and-sexual-violence-in-an-african-american-community/

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