The global health burden of rape

Mary P. Koss, Lori Heise, Nancy Felipe Russo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


Women's rights to be free from male violence are now recognized by the United Nations as fundamental human rights. Two parallel transformations in the understanding of rape have been central to the international effort to achieve this declaration. The first is increased recognition of the extent to which rape typically involves intimates. The second is the shift from regarding rape as a criminal justice matter towards an appreciation of its implications for women's health. The focus of this paper is the health burden of rape, which is addressed from the global perspective and includes discussion of its prevalence and psychological, sociocultural, somatic, and reproductive health consequences. Quantitative efforts to capture the relative economic impact of rape compared to other threats to women's health are also discussed. The paper concludes with an agenda for future research on rape that could enrich activists' efforts on behalf of women's health and development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)509-537
Number of pages29
JournalPsychology of Women Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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