An Analysis of Sexual Violence over 7 Years: Data from the Seoul Southern Sunflower Center
Objective: To investigate the epidemiology of and clinical characteristics associated with alleged sexual violence over the past 7 years in Seoul and anticipate trends of further sexual violence.
Methods: The data for cases of alleged sexual assault recorded at the Seoul Southern Sunflower Center of Boramae Medical Center during December 2008-2015 were retrospectively analyzed. Information regarding the victim’s age, parity, mental disorder status, alcohol consumption habit, time and place of the crime, relationship between the victim and perpetrator, and the time interval from the crime to declaration was recorded. Physical examinations, serology tests, vaginal swabs, and cultures were conducted. Emergency contraceptives were prescribed to victims who declared sexual violence within 72 hours after the crime.
Results: The highest percentage of victims was observed among the age group of 20 to 24 years (596 cases, 27.2%). There were 13 male victims (0.6%), 24 victims were allegedly assaulted ≥2 times, and 141 (6.4%) had a mental disorder. The number of disabled pregnant women (5 cases, 3.6%) who developed the pregnancy due to the assault was significantly higher than that of non-disabled pregnant women (17 cases, 0.8%). Furthermore, 1,257 cases (57.4%) involved alcohol consumption or illegal drugs. We found that 28.6% and 19.2% of cases occurred in summer and in winter, respectively. Furthermore, 50.4% of all crimes occurred between midnight and 6 AM. Unknown perpetrators accounted for 768 (35.0%) cases and acquaintances 1,424 (65.0%). In the majority of cases (77.7%), victims were not physically injured. Sexually transmitted disease and bacterial vaginitis were found in 380 (17.3%) and 1,152 cases (52.6%), respectively.
Conclusion: The findings of this study could help guide management and comprehensive care for sexual violence victims. It is expected that it will be able to obtain accurate basic data on the victim status and damage characteristics by the subtype classification of victims of sexual violence. Especially, it is thought that it will contribute more to the establishment of policies, laws, systems, and social services according to the characteristics of the group, by more closely analyzing the rape cases targeted by the disabled and the youth who are social weak. Additionally, it is expected that sexual violence victims will be able to systematically manage the occurrence and progress of problems related to sexual violence by objectively assessing and following up risk factors, physical diseases, and psychiatric sequelae.