ACOG recommends that health care providers screen all women for a history of sexual assault. Screening should take place during routine wellness exams or when presented with symptoms that are suspicious for sexual assault (see ‘Red Flags’ below, in KEY POINTS).
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center recommends the following to further engage women in a discussion regarding sexual assault
Normalize the subject by including it within the sexual history; ACOG recommends the following introduction
“Because sexual violence is an enormous problem for women in this country and can affect a woman’s health and well-being, I now ask all my patients about exposure to violence and about sexual assault.”
Provide context by connecting the subject to the patient’s health and well-being
Validate the patient’s responses
Ask about sexual experiences that were uncomfortable or unwanted
Have you been touched without your consent?
Have you ever been pressured or forced to have sexual contact?
Do you feel that you have control over your sexual relationships?
Key findings of the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey reveal that an estimated 1.3 million rape-related physical assaults occur against women annually. Early identification of victims can lead to prevention of long-term and persistent physical and mental health consequences of abuse.
Decide on appropriate interventions depending on each individual situation
Pay particular attention to those who report pelvic pain, dysmenorrhea, or sexual dysfunction
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