Puerto Rican drug users' experiences of physical and sexual abuse: Comparisons based on sexual identities

Center for Addiction Studies, School of Medicine, Universidad Central del Caribe, Bayamón, Puerto Rico, 00960-6032.
The Journal of Sex Research (Impact Factor: 2.7). 09/2003; 40(3):277-85. DOI: 10.1080/00224490309552192
Source: PubMed


This study integrates the results of quantitative and qualitative methods to elucidate the association between sexual identity and physical and sexual abuse among Puerto Rican drug users. A structured questionnaire was administered to 800 subjects in New York and 399 in Puerto Rico. A total of 93 subjects (7.9%) self-identified as homosexual or bisexual. Gay males were significantly more likely than heterosexual males to report first occurrence of physical abuse by a family member in childhood. Both gay and bisexual males were more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to report first experiencing unwanted sex in childhood and intimate partner physical abuse later in life. Lesbians were more likely than female heterosexuals to report unwanted sex in childhood. Qualitative data were collected through in-depth life histories with 21 subjects and suggest that gay and lesbian subjects perceive antihomosexual prejudice on the part of family members as one cause of childhood physical and sexual abuse.

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    • "Exposure to these settings has been identified as a risk factor for violence (El-Bassel, Gilbert, Wu, Go, & Hill, 2005; Klein & Levy, 2003). Accordingly, people who inject drugs (PWID) are significantly more likely to experience violence than the general population (Chermack & Blow, 2002; Finlinson et al., 2003), with one recent epidemiological study finding that 70% and 66% of male and female PWID, respectively, experienced violence over a five-year period (Marshall, Fairbairn, Li, Wood, & Kerr, 2008). A considerable body of evidence highlights how violence within street-based drug scenes operates at the 'structural' (Farmer, 2005), 'everyday' (Scheper-Hughes, 1992), and 'symbolic' levels (Bourdieu & Wacquant, 1992). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Vancouver's Downtown Eastside is home to Canada's largest street-based drug scene and only supervised injection facility (Insite). High levels of violence among men and women have been documented in this neighbourhood. This study was undertaken to explore the role of violence in shaping the socio-spatial relations of women and ‘marginal men’ (i.e., those occupying subordinate positions within the drug scene) in the Downtown Eastside, including access to Insite. Methods Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with 23 people who inject drugs (PWID) recruited through the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users, a local drug user organization. Interviews included a mapping exercise. Interview transcripts and maps were analyzed thematically, with an emphasis on how gendered violence shaped participants’ spatial practices. Results Hegemonic forms of masculinity operating within the Downtown Eastside framed the everyday violence experienced by women and marginal men. This violence shaped the spatial practices of women and marginal men, in that they avoided drug scene milieus where they had experienced violence or that they perceived to be dangerous. Some men linked their spatial restrictions to the perceived ‘dope quality’ of neighbourhood drug dealers to maintain claims to dominant masculinities while enacting spatial strategies to promote safety. Environmental supports provided by health and social care agencies were critical in enabling women and marginal men to negotiate place and survival within the context of drug scene violence. Access to Insite did not motivate participants to enter into “dangerous” drug scene milieus but they did venture into these areas if necessary to obtain drugs or generate income. Conclusion Gendered violence is critical in restricting the geographies of men and marginal men within the street-based drug scene. There is a need to scale up existing environmental interventions, including supervised injection services, to minimize violence and potential drug-related risks among these highly-vulnerable PWID.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · The International journal on drug policy
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    • "behaviors ( more than 60% of this group ) . Although few studies have examined risk factors for violence among substance users , the prevalence of abuse among this population has been found to be strikingly high in numerous studies , with some studies showing rates above 50% in drug - addicted samples ( Chermack , Walton , Fuller , & Blow , 2001 ; Finlinson et al . , 2003 ; Marshall et al . , 2008 ) . Nonetheless , the rate of abuse found in drug - addicted patients in this research was higher than expected . Additional studies are needed to validate these findings and explore potential explana - tions for this phenomenon . Our results suggest that individuals with violence problems showed a more severe "
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    ABSTRACT: This study explored the prevalence of violent behaviors in patients who are addicted to drugs. A sample of 252 addicted patients (203 male and 49 female) who sought outpatient treatment was assessed. Information on violent behaviors, sociodemographic factors, consumption factors (assessed by the European version of the Addiction Severity Index [EuropASI]), psychopathological factors (assessed by Symptom Checklist-90-Revised [SCL-90-R]), and personality variables (assessed by Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory [MCMI-II]) was collected. Drug-addicted patients who were associated with violent behaviors were compared on all variables with patients who were not associated with violent behaviors. The rate of drug-addicted patients with violent behaviors in this sample was 39.68% (n = 100). There were significant differences between the numbers of patients who did and did not demonstrate violence on some variables. Patients with violence problems were younger than those without violence problems and were more likely to report having been a victim of abuse. Moreover, they were significantly more likely to have experienced an overdose and showed a significantly higher score on several EuropASI, SCL-90-R and MCMI-II variables. According to these results, patients with violence control problems present with both a more severe addiction and several comorbid problems. The implications of these results for further research and clinical practice are discussed.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2011 · Journal of Interpersonal Violence
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    • "Although few studies have examined the risk factors for received violence among male substance users, the prevalence of physical violence among this population is also strikingly high (Finlinson et al., 2003). One study examining received violence in a sample of individuals participating in substance abuse treatment found no gender difference in the proportion of participants reporting violence from partners (61% versus 65% among men and women, respectively), while males reported higher rates of violence from non-partners (75% versus 45% among men and women, respectively) (Chermack et al., 2001). "
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    ABSTRACT: Although dramatically heightened rates of violence have been observed among injection drug users (IDU), little is known about the gender differences associated with violence among this population. Employing a risk environment framework, we performed an analysis of the factors associated with experiencing violence among participants enrolled in a prospective cohort study of IDU during the years 1996-2005 using generalized estimating equations (GEE). Among 1114 individuals, 291 (66%) of females and 470 (70%) of males reported experiencing violence during the study period. In multivariate analyses, mental illness, frequent alcohol use, frequent crack use, homelessness, Downtown Eastside residency, and requiring help injecting were positively associated with experiencing violence for both sexes (all p<0.05). For females, binge drug use (AOR=1.30) and drug dealing (AOR=1.42) were positively associated with violence, while younger age (AOR=1.02), frequent heroin injection (AOR=1.24), and incarceration (AOR=1.50) were significant for males. Women were more likely to be attacked by acquaintances, partners, and sex trade clients, while men were more likely to experience violence from strangers and the police. These findings indicate that susceptibility to violence among IDU is structured by environmental factors such as homelessness and drug-related factors such as frequent alcohol use and involvement in drug economies. Furthermore, important gender differences with respect to the predictors and characteristics of violent attacks do exist. These findings indicate an urgent need for the development of comprehensive programs and structural interventions that take a gender-focused approach to violence among IDU.
    Full-text · Article · May 2008 · Drug and Alcohol Dependence
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