According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association this week, for 1 in 16 women their first experience with sexual intercourse was a rape or under coercion.
The study is entitled, “Association Between Forced Sexual Initiation and Health Outcomes Among US Women.”
From the study summary:
Question: What is the prevalence of forced sexual initiation among women and girls in the United States and its association with reproductive, gynecologic, and general health outcomes?
Findings: In this cross-sectional, nationally representative study of 13,310 American women aged 18 to 44 years, 6.5% reported forced sexual initiation (mean age at forced sexual initiation, 15.6 years). Forced sexual initiation appeared to be associated with multiple adverse reproductive, gynecologic, and general health outcomes after adjustment for demographic confounders.
Meaning: These findings could help clinicians improve the medical care of women and girls and inform the development of public health policies aimed at reducing forced sexual initiation in the United States.
From the Abstract:
Importance: The #MeToo movement has highlighted how frequently women experience sexual violence. However, to date, no recent studies have assessed the prevalence of forced sex during girls’ and women’s first sexual encounter or its health consequences.
Objective: To estimate the prevalence of forced sexual initiation among US women and its association with subsequent reproductive, gynecologic, and general health outcomes.
Conclusions and Relevance: Forced sexual initiation in women appears to be common and associated with multiple adverse reproductive and general health outcomes. These findings highlight the possible need for public health measures and sociocultural changes to prevent sexual violence, particularly forced sexual initiation.
The authors of this study are the following:
Laura Hawks, MD: Department of Medicine, Cambridge Health Alliance, Cambridge Massachusetts; Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.
Steffie Woolhandler, MD, MPH, Harvard Medical School; City University of New York, Hunter College, New York, New York.
David U. Himmelstein, MD, Harvard Medical School; City University of New York, Hunter College, New York, New York.
Let’s take a look at the Twitter accounts of these authors, shall we?
Retweet on May 15: “Thread alert! Hopping mad about dwindling abortion access? Welcome, we’ve been waiting for you. Here are some ways you can show up today in your state — please settle in for the long haul. We need you now, and we need you for the weeks, months, and years to come.”
Retweet on November 4, 2018: “@AndrewGillum and @staceyabrams are two candidates that are committed to ending mass incarceration. Before you vote find out where your candidate stands on criminal justice reform.”
Retweet on October 28, 2018: “In America, white supremacists have killed more than a dozen minorities this week alone.”
Her bio states the following: After several years of working in the movement against the Vietnam War, I sought a career that would allow me to continue my work for social change. I also loved math and science. Medicine was a career that allowed me to combine both my interests. Dr. Stephanie J. Woolhandler has advocated guaranteed access to health care for all members of society, including the Americans currently without medical insurance. In 1986 she helped found Physicians for a National Health Program, a not-for-profit organization for physicians, medical students, and other health care professionals who advocate a national health insurance program.
From Steffie’s Twitter bio: “Physician, Professor, Shadow secretary of DHHS @shadowingtrump”
Let’s go to @shadowingtrump and take a look at what that is all about, shall we?
From their Twitter bio: “21 progressive leaders unite in a one-stop site to debunk Trump daily & offer alternatives, agency-by-agency. Because truth trumps lies. Created by @markjgreen”
Recent @shadowingtrump tweets:
“Trump’s hate is bad for your health. Rise in health uninsured may be linked to immigrants’ fears”
“With the failures of both his trade war and tax cuts, Trump’s reelect down to two arguments: “let’s see what happens”; “hate minorities & liberals.” He’s sinking.”
“Doctors urge studies on how detention of border children is a willful health hazard.”
“Trump treats Gateway Pundit with infinitely more respect than the @nytimes—all historians will need to know about this abhorrent moment.”
David Himmelstein (from Wikipedia):
David U. Himmelstein is an American academic physician specializing in internal medicine. He is a distinguished professor of public health and health policy in the CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College, an adjunct clinical professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and a lecturer at Harvard Medical School. He is also the co-founder (with Steffie Woolhandler) of Physicians for a National Health Program, an organization advocating for single-payer healthcare in the United States.
I’ve never authored a research article yet I do have several questions regarding this study:
Given the political identity of the authors, was there a perceived bias in their study (questions and persuasion) to influence public health policies toward a desired outcome (single-payer healthcare)?
Is there a perceived bias in the authors’ (particularly Woolhandler) handling/framing of this study to influence “social change?”
Did the authors inquire about the background of these forced sexual initiation offenders and the resulting arrests in order to inform the development of criminal policies aimed at reducing forced sexual initiation in the United States?
And given the authors’ political identities, was there not some desired outcome to suggest that rape is common because Orange Man Bad (and the Justice Kavanaugh faux allegations)?
After all, the 2020 presidential election is just around the corner…
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