Recent estimates from a U.S. national survey indicate that one in six women have been sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime. The impact of sexual assault has been linked to various devastating short-term and long-term effects including physical health problems, difficulties in functioning, psychological distress, and mental health issues. Rape crisis centers were developed as an upshot of the feminist movement with the goal of alleviating these negative effects. These centers continue to provide a range of supportive and outreach services to victims and survivors of rape, and many remain involved in the promotion of social activism endeavors. This entry summarizes the history of the formation of rape crisis centers, the needs of women who have been sexual assaulted, and the range ...

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