Forms of sexual assault against older women in the context of acquaintance relationships: An intersectional perspective

Tova Band-Winterstein, Hadass Goldblatt, Sagit Lev, Dovrat Harel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study addresses forms of sexual assault against women in late life (SAWLL) from an intersectional perspective, focusing on acquaintance relationships. Qualitative research was conducted, using in-depth interviews with 18 welfare and healthcare professionals who treated sexual assault survivors. Five forms (themes) emerged, relevant to the identification of SAWLL: (1) Coercive sexual assault in the context of changes brought on by old age, (2) contempt and sexual humiliation based on ageist and sexist social constructions, (3) violation of the older women's dignity in the multigenerational context, (4) life-long incestuous relationships and sexual assault against older women and (5) erotic touching and exhibitionism in caregiving relationships. The revealed forms emphasise the vulnerability of older women who are sexually assaulted in domestic relationships by perpetrators whom they know. These forms can contribute to filling the existing gap in knowledge on SAWLL and promote the visibility of sexually assaulted older women in the justice system. In addition, they can aid law enforcement, health and welfare professionals and policymakers to advance the general understanding of SAWLL as well as improve the response to this phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHealth and Social Care in the Community
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Israel Science Foundation (ISF), grant number 463/17.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • old age
  • older women
  • qualitative research
  • sexual abuse
  • sexual assault

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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