Domestic violence is so common among women that doctors should be doing more to detect cases and get their patients the help they need, say two new studies reported by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Researchers from Group Health Cooperative’s Center for Health Studies randomly surveyed about 3,500 women who had been with the health maintenance organization for at least three years. About 44 percent said they’d been physically, psychologically, or sexually assaulted by a partner in their lifetimes. Said Dr. Robert Thompson, senior investigator at the Center for Health Studies and lead author of one of the studies: “Look, these are regular, walking-around-type people. This doesn’t only happen to the poor and the single. This is mainline America.” The studies appear in the May issue of the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.
Thompson said doctors often are reluctant to broach the sensitive subject. They may not know what to do if a patient reveals she’s being attacked by her partner. The second study found that women who’ve been recently abused or have experienced long-term abuse have poorer physical and mental health.