Study examines condom use during sexual assaults

April 12, 2013
Study examines condom use during sexual assaults
Eryn O'Neal, center, with Katharine Tellis and Cassia Spohn, examined more than 800 sexual assault cases to find out the rate of condom use by suspects.

(Medical Xpress)—A new study found that suspect age, alcohol use, and weapon use all influence whether a suspect uses a condom during sexual assault.

"Condom use during sexual assault isn't something that has been studied in depth in the past," explained Eryn Nicole O'Neal, a doctoral student in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice Arizona State University. "We didn't really have a strong grasp on prevalence rates and the issues that contribute to suspects using condoms."

There are three types of sexual assault – stranger, intimate, and acquaintance. Academic research on condom use and forced sex has mostly focused on sexual assault between intimates. O'Neal and her colleagues used law enforcement sexual assault reports to investigate the prevalence of condom use and the factors that influence condom use across all types of suspect/victim relationships.

Her article, "Condom use during sexual assault," co-authored by Scott Decker and Cassia Spohn of ASU, and Katharine Tellis of California State University, Los Angeles, was published online in the Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine last month.

The video will load shortly.
ASU doctoral student Eryn Nicole O'Neal discusses her new study on the infrequent use of condoms in sexual assaults.

The study examined 841 sexual assault reports from the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sherriff's Department, and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. The Los Angeles cases were reported in 2008; St. Louis in 2004.The dataset provided detailed information over large geographical locations.

"We wanted to use a dataset that represented two sites where we could compare prevalence rates across sites as well as the contextual factors that shape condom use and that influence suspects – whether they use condoms or not," O'Neal said.

They found that condoms were used in 11 to 15 percent of sexual assaults. Few differences exist across jurisdictions regarding the correlates of condom use. Factors contributing to use include the age of the suspect, the use of a weapon and suspect alcohol use.

The analysis showed that suspects under age 21 were more likely to use condoms.

"This is consistent with contraceptive statistics," said O'Neal. "Younger males are much more likely to use condoms consistently when engaging in any sexual activity."

The study also found that suspects who used or threatened weapons were more likely to use condoms. O'Neal and her co-authors attributed that to the increased control that happens when a weapon is used.

O'Neal and her team hypothesized that some suspects may use condoms during a sexual assault because of increased awareness of sexually transmitted infections (STI) as well as the popularity of CSI and other television crime dramas.

"So maybe suspects are either trying to guard themselves against STIs or they are fearful of leaving evidence on the victim," O'Neal suggested.

While some sexual assault suspects used condoms, the vast majority did not.

Suspects under the influence of alcohol were less likely to use condoms "due to self-control and inability to make decisions," O'Neal pointed out.

With only 11 to 15 percent of suspects using condoms, more than four out of five women were victims of forced, unprotected sex. O'Neal said that puts female victims at a higher risk of unplanned pregnancies and STIs.

"Condoms are not being used during sexual assault and this is a major health concern for women," O'Neal said. "We know that sexual assault is a very prevalent occurrence, it happens more often than we would like to acknowledge."

O'Neal and her colleagues found that more than 50 percent of victims came into contact with emergency medical personnel or sexual assault nurse examiners after the assault. She said the study stresses the need for those that interact with victims to be aware of the health risks caused by suspects not using condoms and offer preventative medication and care.

"Given the low prevalence rates of during , advocates, medical personnel, and law enforcement need to know that there is a real threat of contracting an STI or becoming pregnant," said O'Neal.

Explore further: New 'Viagra condom' to join the fight in STD prevention

More information: … ii/S1752928X13000759

Related Stories

New 'Viagra condom' to join the fight in STD prevention

May 12, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- The biggest complaint from men and women when it comes to condom use is the decrease in sensitivity and erectile performance during intercourse. It is this reason that condoms are not used as often as ...

New study reveals sex to be pleasurable with or without use of a condom or lubricant

January 23, 2013
A new study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine reveals that within a nationally representative study of American men and women, sex was rated as highly arousing and pleasurable whether or not condoms and/or lubricants ...

Researchers find crime drama viewers more likely to aid sexual assault victims

February 20, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Viewers of primetime crime dramas, like NCIS, CSI or Law & Order, are more inclined than non-viewers to see themselves intervening on behalf of the victim of a sexual assault, according to recent research ...

Pain from sexual assault often untreated, study says

September 14, 2012
(HealthDay)—Although most victims of sexual assault experience severe pain after their attack, fewer than one-third receive medication to ease their discomfort, according to a new study.

Intoxication important in determining when some men commit sexual aggression

September 7, 2011
A new review article published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review assesses the extent to which alcohol plays a causal role in sexual assault perpetration. Results found that men who are already prone to anger, who have ...

Recommended for you

Schoolchildren who use e-cigarettes are more likely to try tobacco

August 17, 2017
Vaping - or the use of e-cigarettes - is widely accepted as a safer option for people who are already smoking.

Study shows cigarette makers shifted stance on nicotine patches, gum

August 17, 2017
The use of nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, inhalers or nasal sprays—together called "nicotine replacement therapy," or NRT—came into play in 1984 as prescription medicine, which when combined with counseling, helped ...

In a nutshell: Walnuts activate brain region involved in appetite control

August 17, 2017
Packed with nutrients linked to better health, walnuts are also thought to discourage overeating by promoting feelings of fullness. Now, in a new brain imaging study, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) ...

Federal snack program does not yield expected impacts, researchers find

August 17, 2017
A well-intentioned government regulation designed to offer healthier options in school vending machines has failed to instill better snacking habits in a sample of schools in Appalachian Virginia, according to a study by ...

Energy dense foods may increase cancer risk regardless of obesity status

August 17, 2017
Diet is believed to play a role in cancer risk. Current research shows that an estimated 30% of cancers could be prevented through nutritional modifications. While there is a proven link between obesity and certain types ...

Technology is changing Generation smartphone, and not always for the better

August 16, 2017
It's easy to imagine some graybeard long ago weighing in on how this new generation, with all its fancy wheels, missed out on the benefits of dragging stuff from place to place.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet May 19, 2013

When the man using
As contraceptive the woman
Become mad and crazy... this duo to the semen of
Man is remaining In the CONDOMS
And it was not ejaculated and dropping in
Vagina of women there is not sweet taste for
Sex meeting .
Like that you are drinking tea or coffee with out
Sugar the coffee or tea is not sweet it is bitter.

Of man is like Sugar it make the coitus and
Sex meeting sweet to woman
The sex meeting
Sweet With out
When man is not Using
In sex meeting with woman the
Semen of man will Ejaculated and dropping and
Falling in vagina of Woman then the semen is
Absorbed by vagina wall and inter the blood
Circulation and reached the brain
Then the women mind become in a convenience
Mood and good feeling she is not be a Madden Or Crazy woman

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.