The presence of sexual violence in neighborhoods erodes feelings of safety

January 15, 2018

Feelings about the frequency of rape or other forms of sexual assault in a neighborhood are significantly tied to women's--but not men's--perceptions of its safety, according to new research.

However, both men and women report feeling less safe in their neighborhoods based on the presence of other violence, including weapon-based fights, robberies, muggings and gang fights.

"Our results indicate that men can become more aware of how women feel about what contributes to and threatens their safety," said Dana M. Prince, an assistant professor at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University and a co-author of the study. "Sexual and gendered violence affects all people, and everyone can be partners in ending sexual violence."

Neighborhoods play a key role in the behavior and development of people, previous studies show, and some conditions--such as crime, segregation, poverty and disorder--can have harmful effects on health.

"Feeling unsafe, especially in and around your home, can erode physical and mental health," Prince said. "When women carry around fears of sexual assault, it harms their well-being."

The study, published in the Journal of Community Psychology, was based on interviews with nearly 350 adults in nine neighborhoods in a major American city with high rates of poverty, unemployment and crime. Participants were asked how often particular crimes occurred in their neighborhood in the past six months.

"Our results could mean men are less aware of sexual violence, or perhaps they do not feel comfortable reporting that it makes them feel less safe--perhaps both--while women tend to be socialized early on to be aware of the possibility of sexual attack," said Prince.
-end-
Co-authors of the research are Erin E. Hoffman, Jacob Kraemer Tebes and Tanisha T.M. Mair, of Yale University School of Medicine; and Bronwyn A. Hunter, of the University of Maryland.

The research was funded, in part, by grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Thomas Scattergood Foundation, the City of Philadelphia and the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

Case Western Reserve University

Related Mental Health Articles from Brightsurf:

Mental health strained by disaster
A new study found that suicide rates increase during all types of disasters -- including severe storms, floods, hurricanes and ice storms -- with the largest overall increase occurring two years after a disaster.

The mental health impact of pandemics for front line health care staff
New research shows the impact that pandemics have on the mental health of front-line health care staff.

World Mental Health Day -- CACTUS releases report of largest researcher mental health survey
On the occasion of 'World Mental Health Day' 2020, CACTUS, a global scientific communications company, has released a global survey on mental health, wellbeing and fulfilment in academia.

Mental illness, mental health care use among police officers
A survey study of Texas police officers examines how common mental illness and mental health care use are in a large urban department.

COVID-19 outbreak and mental health
The use of online platforms to guide effective consumption of information, facilitate social support and continue mental health care delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic is discussed in this Viewpoint.

COVID-19 may have consequences for mental health
The COVID-19 pandemic appears to be adversely affecting mental health among hospitalised patients, the healthcare professionals treating them and the general population.

Mental health outcomes among health care workers during COVID-19 pandemic in Italy
Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and insomnia among health care workers in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic are reported in this observational study.

Mental ill health 'substantial health concern' among police, finds international study
Mental health issues among police officers are a 'substantial health concern,' with around 1 in 4 potentially drinking at hazardous levels and around 1 in 7 meeting the criteria for post traumatic stress disorder and depression, finds a pooled data analysis of the available international evidence, published online in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

Examining health insurance nondiscrimination policies with mental health among gender minority individuals
A large private health insurance database was used to examine the association between between health insurance nondiscrimination policies and mental health outcomes for gender minority individuals.

Mental health care for adolescents
Researchers examined changes over time in the kinds of mental health problems for which adolescents in the United States received care and where they got that care in this survey study with findings that should be interpreted within the context of several limitations including self-reported information.

Read More: Mental Health News and Mental Health Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.