Date of Award

Summer 1988

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Director

Ellen Lewin

Committee Member

Carolyn H. Rhodes

Committee Member

Janet Katz

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.H85H63


This research examines the complex problem of forced sex in battering relationships. Interviewing eleven women in a battered women's shelter in a southeastern city, I focused on both their perceptions of forced sex and its effects on their self-esteem, expectations and body-image.

Based on the interviews I conclude that forced sex needs a broader definition than the traditionally accepted definition of rape. In addition, the victims' memories of earlier incidents of physical abuse during sex may influence their perceptions of when they are being forced. This study suggests that future researchers and members of the helping profession should include the victim's perception and incidents of past abuse when trying to understand forced sex or patterns of sexually abusive behaviors in battering relationships.


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