Those abused as adults often say no to marriage, cohabitation
Poor women who are physically or sexually abused at some point in their lives are less likely to maintain stable intimate relationships, according to a new study of more than 2,500 women by sociologists from The Johns Hopkins University and Penn State University.
The women involved in the study said they want fair treatment and companionship from their partners, just like everybody does, the researchers said. Many of those who had been abused as adults told ethnographers that they had decided to forego marriage and cohabiting relationships, at least temporarily. Those who were sexually abused in childhood were not as likely to avoid relationships altogether; rather, they tended to engage in a series of short-term, transient relationships, many of them abusive.
While there is no evidence that abuse rates have increased, the number of women postponing intimate relationships may be growing, said Andrew Cherlin, the Griswold Professor of Public Policy at Johns Hopkins and lead author of the report, "The Influence of Physical and Sexual Abuse on Marriage and Cohabitation," to be published in the Jan. 21 issue of American Sociological Review. "Whats changed over the past few decades is the social context of abuse," Cherlin said. "Women dont have to stay with abusive men anymore because they have alternatives to marriage."
Amy Cowles | EurekAlert!
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