Childhood forced sex and cervical dysplasia among women prison inmates

Ann L. Coker, Nilam J. Patel, Shanthi Krishnaswami, Wendy Schmidt, Donna L. Richter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


This cross-sectional study is one of the first to investigate an association between childhood forced sex and cervical dysplasia. Cervical dysplasia can be identified through Pap smear screening and indicates precancerous cervical lesions, which if not treated, could become cervical cancer. Of 123 women confined under medium security in a women's correctional facility and surveyed for this study, 31.7% (n=39) reported forced sex when less than 17 years old. Almost 6% (7 of 123) had an abnormal Pap smear indicating cervical dysplasia on entering prison. Those reporting forced sex before age 17 were six times more likely to have cervical dysplasia on entry into prison. Earlier age at first being forced to have sex was significantly associated with cervical dysplasia prevalence. This study provides data to suggest that early sexual trauma may be associated with precancerous cervical dysplasia. Further research is needed to clarify this association.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-608
Number of pages14
JournalViolence Against Women
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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