Sexual coercion, trauma, and sex work in justice-involved women with substance use disorders

Doreen D. Salina*, Daphna Ram, Leonard A. Jason

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Sexual victimization is associated with mental health problems, trauma, substance use, and incarceration. We recruited 200 formerly incarcerated women with substance use disorders in Chicago. We examined whether empowerment moderates relationships between trauma symptoms, trading sex, and being forced to have sex. There was a significant 3-way interaction among sexual coercion, trading, and empowerment scores on trauma symptoms. For women who have not traded sex, lower levels of empowerment were associated with a larger difference in trauma symptoms between women who have been coerced or traded sex. For women who had been coerced, lower levels of empowerment were associated with a larger difference in trauma symptomatology between those who have traded sex or not. Promoting empowerment in sexually traumatized women might reduce the harm that results from being victimized. Furthermore, providing interventions that educate women regarding gender and cultural roles could help women avoid situations that result in exploitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)254-268
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma
Volume25
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 15 2016

Keywords

  • Coercion
  • empowerment
  • incarcerated women
  • sexual aggression
  • sexual violence
  • substance abuse
  • trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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