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The Effect of Family Violence on Sexual Victimization among Young Women

Authors
  • Symons, Katrien1
  • Hellemans, Sabine2
  • Van Houtte, Mieke1
  • Vermeersch, Hans1
  • 1 Ghent University, Department of Sociology, Ghent, Belgium , Ghent (Belgium)
  • 2 Ghent University, Department of Experimental Clinical and Health Psychology, Ghent, Belgium , Ghent (Belgium)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Family Violence
Publisher
Springer US
Publication Date
Feb 02, 2016
Volume
31
Issue
6
Pages
759–769
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s10896-016-9803-5
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
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Abstract

Young people who grow up in a violent family context are more vulnerable to become victims of sexual aggression outside the family context. The present study contributes to the understanding of the mechanisms that explain this link among young women by looking at the mediating role of sexual exposure behavior and target vulnerability. Data were used from an online survey among 237 young women aged 16 to 26 (M = 21.0 years, SD = 2.75). Experiencing violence from (one of) the parents and to a lesser extent witnessing interparental violence were related to an elevated risk for sexual victimization. Witnessing interparental violence was related to increased target vulnerability but this factor did not mediate the link with sexual victimization. Experiencing parental violence was related to both increased sexual exposure behavior and increased target vulnerability and these factors did mediate the link with sexual victimization.

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