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Rape in active component and reserve/ national guard servicewomen: Deployed and non-deployed environments

Sadler AG, Mengeling M, Torner J, Booth BM. Rape in active component and reserve/ national guard servicewomen: Deployed and non-deployed environments. Paper presented at: American Public Health Association Annual Meeting and Exposition; 2013 Nov 5; Boston, MA.


Objective: To determine if sexual assault in military (SAIM) rates are different by service (Active Component (AC) vs. Reserve/National Guard (RNG) or by deployment (e.g., deployed vs. never deployed). Methods: A cross-sectional study design used computer-assisted telephone interviews assessing socio-demographic, military and assault characteristics, and health outcomes.Defense Manpower Data Center provided a Midwestern sample of OEF/OIF servicewomen. Participants included currently serving (79%) and veteran (21%) servicewomen; 50% AC, 50% RNG; with three quarters (74%) ever deployed. Results: SAIM was reported by 18% of the 1337 participants. Servicewomen who were enlisted, serving in AC, and ever deployed were most likely to experience SAIM. However, SAIM was more likely to occur when not deployed than when deployed (15% vs 4%) Deployed women had served longer in the military (93 vs 72 months, p < .0001). Variables associated with SAIM occurring during deployed and non-deployed periods were identified. Conclusions: SAIM remains a public health concern for military women. While servicewomen who had been deployed were more likely to have experienced SAIM, these same servicewomen were most likely to report that the SAIM(s) occurred while not deployed. While findings seems contradictory, there are logical explanations, such as proportionately greater time spent in non-deployed settings. Risk factors and circumstances unique to deployed and non-deployed military environments must be considered by policy makers addressing primary prevention interventions for SAIM. Clinicians must be aware that concerns for personal safety are an important reality for servicewomen in their care during non-deployed states as well as deployed.

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