Texas A&M University-Commerce
Dr. L Hendricks Table of Contents
Sexuality Issues for the Chemically Dependent
The Incidence and Experience of Rape among Chemically Dependent Women
This article is about a group of women in a drug treatment facility. The facility asked the women to participate in a report on sexual abuse and possible rape. The study only used women that volunteered. The study started with a larger quantity of women however due to leaving the program early they ended up with 60 in the study. Of these remaining women, 73 percent reported they had been raped. The study also showed 45 percent of the women were raped more than one time.
The stories of the women told about their incidence of being raped were divided into five different categories. The first category stated that they were raped while they were using drugs. The second category described as being too high to resist. The next category happened while they were practicing the profession of prostitution. Someone other than family raped the women and the next category a family member raped the women.
The structure was a mix of several groups of women... The categories listed are 47 percent of the women being married, 22 percent being single, 47 percent being divorced, and 3 percent widowed. The education aspect was made up of 28 percent who had some college, 32 had finished high school and 40 percent had not completed school. Race was a fair mix as there was 47 white, 45 percent black, 8 percent were Native American and white. The mean age of these women was 30 and a half.
The purpose of the study was to see if rape might have a correlation with the use of drugs. It was clear that rape was more prevalent in the women in the study than studies done in the past. This study showed that 73 percent of these women were using drugs for a number of years. This is much higher than previous studies done in the past.
The average age of the women in the study reported that they first use drugs at around 14 years old. This figure was derived from the earliest age reporting of five years old and the latest at 35 years old. The study shows that 80 percent of the women reported alcohol as the first drug to be used. Half of these women reported marijuana was the first drug they used. The age the women reported they were first rape was eight years old and the oldest age was 40 years old.
In this study, there were only 20 percent of the women that reported the act of rape to the police. This is somewhat lower than previous studies done on all women, not just drug using women. The report goes on to say the drug of choice the women were first using was alcohol. The women reported that they used drugs to numb the hurt. The author goes on to say there appears to be a correlation between early assault and drug use. However, the author is quick to say that there needs to be more studies done on this topic.
One of the problems in doing a study liken to this is how far do they as the women to bring up these old memories and how much time is devoted to drug treatment and post dramatic stress syndrome PTSD. The study had to be designed and carefully monitored that the women would not bring up things that happened in the past that would harm them. The members of the study professionals were trained in questioning these kinds of women. Some of the women would not talk about their rape experience. The memories were too painful for them to rehash. There had to be a decision made on what was more important in the treatment of these women. Would chemical dependency be the top priority? They had to decide that if these women brought up the old memories that they might have to be treated for post traumatic stress syndrome first.
The Antecedents of Women’s Crack Cocaine Abuse: Family Substance Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Depression and Illicit Drug Use