Understanding Disparities in Service Seeking Following Forcible Versus Drug- or Alcohol-Facilitated/Incapacitated Rape

Kate Walsh, Heidi M. Zinzow, Christal L. Badour, Kenneth J. Ruggiero, Dean G. Kilpatrick, Heidi S. Resnick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Victims of drug- or alcohol-facilitated/incapacitated rape (DAFR/IR) are substantially less likely to seek medical, rape crisis, or police services compared with victims of forcible rape (FR); however, reasons for these disparities are poorly understood. The current study examined explanatory mechanisms in the pathway from rape type (FR vs. DAFR/IR) to disparities in post-rape service seeking (medical, rape crisis, criminal justice). Participants were 445 adult women from a nationally representative household probability sample who had experienced FR, DAFR/IR, or both since age 14. Personal characteristics (age, race, income, prior rape history), rape characteristics (fear, injury, loss of consciousness), and post-rape acknowledgment, medical concerns, and service seeking were collected. An indirect effects model using bootstrapped standard errors was estimated to examine pathways from rape type to service seeking. DAFR/IR-only victims were less likely to seek services compared with FR victims despite similar post-rape medical concerns. FR victims were more likely to report fear during the rape and a prior rape history, and to acknowledge the incident as rape; each of these characteristics was positively associated with service seeking. However, only prior rape history and acknowledgment served as indirect paths to service seeking; acknowledgment was the strongest predictor of service seeking. Diminished acknowledgment of the incident as rape may be especially important to explaining why DAFR/IR victims are less likely than FR victims to seek services. Public service campaigns designed to increase awareness of rape definitions, particularly around DAFR/IR, are important to reducing disparities in rape-related service seeking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2475-2491
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number14
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, © The Author(s) 2015.


  • alcohol and drugs
  • sexual assault
  • support seeking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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