History of Past Sexual Abuse in Married Observant Jewish Women. American Journal of Psychiatry, November 2007, 164:1700-1706 .

Friedman, M., Labinsky, E., Rosenbaum, T., Schmeidler, J. & Yehuda, R.


The authors examined instances of past sexual abuse and related demographic characteristics in the self-re-ports of a select group of married obser-
vant Jewish women.


Orthodox Jewish married women (N=380) ages 19 to 58 responded
to advertisements asking them to complete an anonymous questionnaire about
sexual experiences, including sexual abuse.


Sexual abuse was reported by 26% of the respondents surveyed, with
16% reporting abuse occurring by the age of 13. More ultra-Orthodox Jews reported abuse than modern-Orthodox Jews. Women who were raised observant reported significantly less childhood sexual abuse than those who became observant later in life. Sexual abuse was associated with increased treatment-seeking for depression, marital counseling, or other emotional or psychological problems.


While observant Jewish women live in a culture defined by a high degree of adherence to specific laws of conduct, including rules designed to regu-
late sexual contact, sexual abuse of various types still exists among them.