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Penn Nursing > Science in Action
Science in Action: Specialization Areas
Women's Health
Posted October 2008

Skin color, not race, plays larger role in injury detection

Female victims of sexual assault with dark skin are less likely than females with light skin to have their injuries identified, documented, and treated, leaving them disadvantaged in both the healthcare and criminal justice system, according to a new study published in the November issue of The American Journal of Emergency Medicine.  According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, black women have higher rape/sexual assault cases than white women, and one of the main reasons women do not report sexual victimization is "lack of [physical] proof" that an incident occurred. "This finding is novel and important with respect both to clinical assessment and the decisions made within the criminal justice process," said Penn Nursing professor Marilyn Sommers, PhD, RN, the principal investigator of the study. Dr. Sommers...
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