Sexual assault screening should be a routine part of a woman’s healthcare, according to a new Committee Opinion of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Doctors “can be instrumental in stopping the cycle of abuse,” Dr. Veronica Gillispie, a co-author of the Committee Opinion in the Journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, stated.
More than 300,000 American women are sexually assaulted each year in the US but the actual number of sexual assaults is probably higher since the crime often goes unreported. Moreover, ACOG reports that approximately 32,000 pregnancies result from rape annually. Victims can suffer from a wide range of health problems, from unintended pregnancy to post traumatic stress disorder to broken bones and bullet wounds.
“By identifying victims of sexual assault and encouraging them to report their abuse, these problems can be better addressed and even prevented,” said Gillispie.