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February 1989

What Causes Sexual Assault?-Reply

Author Affiliations

Department of Pediatrics and Sexual Assault Center Harborview Medical Center 325 Ninth Ave Seattle, WA 98104

Am J Dis Child. 1989;143(2):137. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1989.02150140019003

In Reply.—Dr Margolis and his colleagues miss a major point of the article. I examined antecedent behaviors, not to lay blame on the victims for past assaults, but to develop strategies to prevent future sexual assaults.

The issues in preventing adolescent and adult sexual assault are similar to those that have been described in child sexual assaults. Prevention efforts can focus on incarcerating and/or treating the offender or improving the mental health of potential offenders; improving the effectiveness of the criminal justice system, which, it is hoped, acts as a deterrent; improving the community environment, providing safe housing, safe transportation, and adequate street lighting; and increasing the protective behaviors of the individual to decrease their likelihood of victimization.1

As health care providers, we can have influence in all these areas but are most likely to affect the last category.

The role of women in our society has changed

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