To the Editor.
—Dr Abbott and colleagues1 report that while the lifetime prevalence of domestic violence among women visiting an emergency department is quite high, 54%, the incidence of acute domestic violence, 11.7%, is significantly lower than was found in previous studies. However, the authors' methods of eliciting information on domestic violence may have led to an underestimate of both values.The authors excluded women younger than 18 years; yet rape victimization is highest in 16- through 19-year-olds.2 Pregnant patients also were excluded; yet the rate of physical abuse, 37% across class, race, and educational lines, is higher during pregnancy.2 Marital rape and acquaintance rape also were not included in the definition of acute domestic violence. These acts include sex resulting in whole or part from coercion, verbal or physical threats, undesired noncompliance with contraception, or force, and also include both physically nonviolent and physically violent sex.
Donohoe MT. Domestic Violence Against Women. JAMA. 1995;274(19):1507. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530190021019