Mexican American women's definitions of rape and sexual abuse

Luciana Ramos Lira, Mary P. Koss, Nancy Felipe Russo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

79 Scopus citations

Abstract

Focus group approach was used to explore concepts related to rape and sexual abuse among 17 Mexican immigrant women living in rural Arizona. The women discussed definitions of various forms of unwanted sexual experiences, their personal knowledge of someone who had been raped or sexually abused, and their perceptions of the roots of sexual abuse. Distinctions between rapto and violación, child versus adult rape (including marital rape), motivations for rape, and social factors contributing to victim silencing were identified. The meaning and perceived impact of rape reflected the gender relations of the culture. Keeping silent was a consistent theme, underscoring the difficulties of accurately assessing rape prevalence in Latinas. Research, prevention, intervention, and treatment programs need to recognize the social context and impact of rape and be designed accordingly. Participants reported many rape experiences, suggesting that underreporting is a major problem in estimating rape prevalence for Latinas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)236-264
Number of pages29
JournalHispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences
Volume21
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language

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