​Over the past decade CNSI has expanded its research interests to understanding the brain mechanisms of adolescent harsh physical abuse with the long-term goal of identifying treatments that will block adult-onset psychopathology. It also appears that cingulate cortex is particularly vulnerable to maltreatment including abuse and rape and this new interest merges smoothly with our ongoing efforts to detail the organization and functions of cingulate cortex including its role in pain and stress.

Physical abuse is being hit with an object, burning, or penetrative sex for at least once a month for at least a year with very negative outcomes is viewed as severe (Bremner et al., 1995). The NY Alliance Against Sexual Assault(http://www.svfreenyc.org/survivorsfactsheet38.html#2) states, “adolescents are more likely to experience sexually violent crimes than any other age group.

Nationally, 7-10% of girls aged 12-17 have experienced …sexual assault, rape, or sexual abuse.” Further, rape of males is any kind of sexual assault that involves forced penetration of the anus or mouth by a penis, finger or any other object.” Leserman et al. (1997) define sexual abuse as forced sex involving touching and vaginal or anal intercourse (rape). Although more females are raped than men and this is a large health hazard, men have more serious mental health consequences (Kang et al., 2005; Street et al., 2008; Vogt DS et al., 2005).

High levels of sexual assault in the military are associated with worse physical health and posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSD) in men than women (Shipherd et al., 2009). Thus, rape refers to being forced to have vaginal or anal intercourse and is not defined by gender, intensions of the attacker (e.g., psychopath, father, sergeant, priest) or the orifice in which any object is inserted. Leserman et al. (1996) evaluated abuse and only life-threatening force predicted adult health status.

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  • Kang H, Dalager N, Mahan C, Ishii E (2005) The role of sexual assault on the risk of PTSD among Gulf War veterans. Ann Epidemiol 15:191-195.
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  • Vogt DS, Pless AP, King LA, King DW (2005) Deployment stressors, gender, and mental health outcomes among Gulf War I veterans. J Traum Stress 18:115-127