This study examines gender and developmental stage differences in physical and sexual abuse among Puerto Rican drug users. A structured questionnaire was administered to 799 participants in New York and 382 in Puerto Rico. Qualitative data were collected through in-depth life histories with 21 participants. Study participants included 297 female and 884 male Puerto Rican drug injectors and crack smokers. Females were significantly more likely than males to report physical abuse by a family member in childhood and unwanted sex in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Qualitative findings describe abuse in the contexts of family, drug dealing, drug paraphernalia possession, and sex work.
Puerto Rican drug users’ experiences of physical and sexual abuse: Comparisons based on gender and developmental stage