chapter  3
16 Pages

Prevalence and Process of Disclosure of Childhood Sexual Abuse Among Eating-Disordered Women *

WithKatherine J. Miller

The extreme variation in childhood sexual abuse (CSA) prevalence rates may reflect, in part, nondisclosure based on psychological reactions to the abuse itself. The ages defining childhood, the range of sexual behaviors included, intrafamilial and/or extrafamilial perpetrators, requirement of the use of force, and peer abuse are all areas of variation. Recent reviews of CSA sequelae in adulthood have suggested that use of force, abuse by a father or stepfather, penetration, and greater number of perpetrators are most harmful; there are contradictory findings on duration, frequency, and age of abuse. Noncontact abuse includes being exposed to exhibitionism, verbal sexual abuse, voyeurism, and solicitations or sexual advances not acted on. Comparisons with community studies by D. E. H. Russell and G. E. Wyatt suggest the possibility that there is more extrafamilial contact CSA and more sibling/stepsibling abuse among eating-disordered women.