Sexual Abuse Common in Foster Care
After reading a horrid news story about an 11-year-old Philadelphia girl who was repeatedly raped by an older foster brother, I began scouring records and state governmental agencies to glean stats on sexual abuse in foster homes across the country.
The most recent clinical studies I found were from 2005 — but many national adoption experts say that young kids are in jeopardy all over America when they are placed in foster care. My family is seriously considering adopting a foster daughter through Los Angeles County in the future (for those of you just tuning in) and so this subject affects me deeply.
This in from adoption blogger Sharon: “Most of the girls that I deal with have been raped and molested in the foster homes that they were in,” said independent child advocate and blogger Sharon McGinley. An advocate for kids aging out of foster care, she says the system is broken, and that the people from group homes and kids caught in foster care situations are afraid that reporting this level of widespread sexual abuse in foster homes would jeopardize their federal funding.
If that’s not bad enough, early abuses may harm the overall health of that woman for the rest of her life: Women who were repeatedly sexually abused as girls have a 62 percent higher risk of heart problems later in life compared with women who were not abused, U.S. researchers said on Sunday at the American Heart Association symposium.
Compared to women who weren’t molested or raped as children or teens, women who reported:
* Repeated episodes of forced sex in childhood or adolescence had a 62 percent higher risk of cardiovascular disease as adults.
* Severe physical abuse in childhood or adolescence was associated with a 45 percent increased risk of cardiovascular events.
“The single biggest factor explaining the link between severe child abuse and adult cardiovascular disease was the tendency of abused girls to have gained more weight throughout adolescence and into adulthood,” said Janet Rich-Edwards, Sc.D., M.P.H., lead author of the study.
The team analyzed data from a study of more than 67,000 nurses. Nine percent of these women had reported severe physical abuse and 11 percent reported being raped in their childhood or adolescence.The team found that repeated episodes of forced sex in childhood or adolescence translated into a 62 percent higher risk of heart attacks and strokes later in life. Much of the increased risk was related to coping strategies such as overeating alcoholism and drug abuse.
Physical abuse also took a toll. Women who had been beaten in their youth had a 45 percent higher risk of heart trouble. Mild to moderate physical or sexual abuse was not associated with increased risk.Add a Comment