Why another book about rape and sexual assault? As clinical psychologists working in medical and sexual health settings, we found ourselves seeing both men and women who had experienced rape and sexual assault. While we found many interesting books from the 1970s onwards that addressed rape from the feminist, social, and political perspective, we found few texts that addressed the wide-ranging problems we encountered in the clinical setting.
Our motivation in compiling this text is to draw together current theories, research, and clinical practice relating to the management of sexual assault. This is primarily a book for clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, counsellors, support workers, therapists, and clinicians working in settings that provide for sexual assault or who are thinking of setting up such services. It will also prove useful to primary care workers and physicians working in a wider field as well as to voluntary sector agencies. Police, legal, and judicial professionals may also find an understanding of the psychological impact of sexual assault useful in improving the management of complainants.
We deliberated over how to refer to the person who has experienced sexual assault. Many texts use the terms 'victim' or 'survivor' and legal texts frequently refer to the 'complainant'. Each of these terms provides a different insight into the experience of the assaulted person. At different times, any of these terms might be appropriate. We, therefore, decided not to impose any specific terminology on the authors. As a consequence, these terms are used interchangeably throughout the book. Many case examples are used in this book. Each is based on fact but each has been significantly altered in order to protect the identity of the person involved. Cases have also been simplified in order to demonstrate salient points.
Chapter 1 begins with an overview of how rape and sexual assault has been defined in legal and clinical settings. It also introduces readers to background information, epidemiology, and a brief resume of the way