Rape Impact Cohort Evaluation (RICE) study: Preliminary results from baseline data and discussion of challenges and opportunities in doing longitudinal research with rape survivors
In the field of gender-based violence and health there is no doubt of its health impact. This is however based mainly on clinical and cross-sectional studies. The 2010 Global Burden included interpersonal violence as a risk factor for other health outcomes i.e. depression and PTSD, but the systematic reviews revealed the poor state of evidence on the magnitude of health effects. What was crucial was the poor state of evidence from longitudinal studies. This resulted in the exclusion of many health outcomes associated with gender-based violence.
The RICE study is a prospective cohort study based in Durban, South Africa and will address some of the gaps. We plan to recruit more than 1000 rape exposed from rape centres and 1000 non-rape exposed women aged 16 – 40 years. We collect data at baseline, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months for all participants, and at 18, 24, 30 and 36 months follow-up for the early sub-cohort. We collected data on a range of known risk factors including mental health status and biomarkers for HIV, STIs, pregnancy and cardio-metabolic risks. At the end of July 2018, we recruited and collected baseline data on 750 participants in the rape exposed cohort and 910 from the non-exposed cohort. I will present preliminary analysis from the baseline data and discuss challenges and opportunities of doing longitudinal research with rape victims.
Naeemah Abrahams is the is currently the Acting Unit Director of the Gender & Health Research Unit of the South African Medical Research Council. She has worked in the area of violence against women and girls research for the last 25+ years and has affiliations as a Professor at both University of Cape Town and University of Western Cape. Her interests are measurement of violence against women and children, femicide, health impact of violence against women including the interface with HIV. Her current research includes, global prevalence and incidence studies, longitudinal research on the impact of rape, sexual assault services, mental health services for rape survivors, femicide and child homicide.