Author(s): Farley M, Barkan H, Farley M, Barkan H
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Abstract One hundred and thirty people working as prostitutes in San Francisco were interviewed regarding the extent of violence in their lives and symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Fifty-seven percent reported that they had been sexually assaulted as children and 49\% reported that they had been physically assaulted as children. As adults in prostitution, 82\% had been physically assaulted; 83\% had been threatened with a weapon; 68\% had been raped while working as prostitutes; and 84\% reported current or past homelessness. We differentiated the types of lifetime violence as childhood sexual assault; childhood physical abuse; rape in prostitution; and other (non-rape) physical assault in prostitution. PTSD severity was significantly associated with the total number of types of lifetime violence (r = .21, p = .02); with childhood physical abuse (t = 2.97, p = .004); rape in adult prostitution (Student's t = 2.77, p = .01); and the total number of times raped in prostitution (Kruskal-Wallace chi square = 13.51, p = .01). Of the 130 people interviewed, 68\% met DSM III-R criteria for a diagnosis of PTSD. Eighty-eight percent of these respondents stated that they wanted to leave prostitution, and described what they needed in order to escape.
This article was published in Women Health
and referenced in Journal of AIDS & Clinical Research