Research Proposal On Sexual Assault/Victimization Reporting Rates And Effects Among College Students In The United States
Sexual assault or rape is a serious crime that has long-lasting effects on the victim of the assault as well as everyone around them. The numbers of these crimes that occur in colleges across the United States are a serious concern for everyone. The safety of students in these facilities is especially important and therefore it is equally important to find a way to more specifically target prevention for these crimes. There are many reasons why the assaults continue to be a problem but one of the major reasons is that many assaults do not get reported. When these go unreported the victim does not get help and the offender remains a danger to the rest of the public. These things in mind it is important to evaluate research that will highlight the issues that have sexual assault remaining such a major issue for college students today.
Articles have brought attention to a specific concern that there is a major issue with victimization of college students in the United States. Sexual deviants for some unknown reason are preying on these students and the major concern is that in most cases there are no reports of these incidences. This proposed study addresses the issue that, the lack of reports by college students when they are sexually assaulted or raped is directly responsible for recidivism by the predators. More specifically this report is going to investigate the hypothesis that lower reports by these college students may or may not lead to more sexual assaults. To do this the rates of sexual assault victimization among college students in the United States must be determined. It is important to do a study on this particular topic because the numbers suggest that the number of women who are victims of sexual assault and do not report their attack are reaching alarming levels and this may be because many of the cases are going unreported. The study is guided by two hypotheses in an attempt to reach a conclusion about a definitive need for more research and resources pertaining to college women who are victims of rape and sexual assault so there may be a way to stop the growing attacks through reports. The first hypothesis is aimed at discovering if low reports of sexual assaults and rape may equal higher risks of sexual assault and rape victimization in future incidences. The second hypothesis is aimed at discovering whether the rate of reported sexual assaults among college victims is higher or lower than reported non intimate crime rates at colleges.
This type of sexual assault has a major impact on the criminal justice system in more ways than one. The victims of these assaults are reported to carry lifelong issues as a result of their attack including domestic violence in future relationships as there unresolved attack can lead to violent tendencies later in life. Another issue is that suspects that get away with crimes may be prone to commit different and more serious crimes if they are not caught. The fact that the college attacks are often unreported by the victims means there is not only many unknown victims but also many unknown perpetrators who are a high risk for committing these and escalated crimes of this nature in the future which means college students who do not report these incidences are creating a breeding ground for dangerous predators. The system has been known to use aggressive tactics when deciphering who is telling the truth and making a false report and sometimes this leads to truthful complaints being dismissed which does not help the process of ascertaining more reports. Some detectives do this by telling the victims that the trial will be long and tedious and it may not suit them to undergo a trial process. This is not only a tactic but in some instances a jury does in fact not believe the victim if the defense can create a strong enough defense. In many cases police officers find that there is no alternative to this we dig out the false reports as many of the reported cases that they come across are in fact false reports. By interacting with victim counselors however they are also aware of the amount of rapes and sexual assaults that are never reported. It is known that many rape victims do not report their attack and scholars are in agreement that the statistics filed and collected by police are incorrect being far less than the actual total amount of rape victims. The theory is that actual rape reports if they were all reported would be far more than the number of false reports (Bryden & Lengnick, 1997). These mixed statistics make it much harder for officers to determine the facts about how serious the issue of rape and sexual assault is and unfortunately bend the results in favor of not believing women because as of now there are more false reports than actual rape cases at least as far as police have reported making the statistics unreliable.
Past research on rapes and sexual assaults indicates that over the last twenty years researchers have been able to determine that sexual assault/rape has become an increasing problem in the United States. Statistics indicate that one in four women of every adult has been the victim of some sort of sexual assault/rape. Research also suggests that the incident of these assaults on the victims is not only damaging to the victim but the immediate family and friend circle as well. Trauma and impact can be felt by anyone who is exposed to the victimization and that even includes people who are appointed to help victims that survive these vicious assaults like counselors and even lawyers. From the knowledge and collection of all of this information one conclusion is certain among all of these researchers and that is there needs to be future research delving deeper into the incidences of rape and sexual assault (Campbell, 2005). When it comes to rape and sexual assault on college campuses around the United States it is not a new issue and in fact has been a recognized problem since 1957. Many people are now trying to raise awareness about this growing epidemic in hopes that change will be applicable before the epidemic reaches even more frightening proportions. One researcher had the opportunity to find the most disturbing results as she was capable of getting this information directly from the predators themselves. Her results showed that nearly eight percent of men on college campuses had reported that they had either attempted or succeeded in forcing sex on another person and equally disturbing results revealed nearly none of these predators saw this as criminal. Their reasoning for not feeling responsible or predatory encompasses the very problem of women not reporting there rapes. The men did not feel what they did was wrong because there was no repercussions for their actions. This research started in the 1980s and even with more explanatory laws and repercussions the fact that women do not report sexual assaults and rapes has only shown a rise in the number of men that report these same results which is now around 11 percent. Her research has also indicated that the reason that college campuses encapsulate such a unique risk is the fact that they are surrounded by situations that pose specific risks like drinking (heavily), peer pressure and sexual promiscuity that allows men to get away with these assaults with little to no repercussions (Kamenetz, 2014).
One study conducted by Bonnie Fischer (NCJRS) that out of ten thousand women at any given college there could be as many as 350 of these woman that are raped and sexually assaulted during one year . Many of these women will not even consider their attack a sexual assault or rape which means they will not report it. There are many reasons that contribute to this way of thinking including feelings of shame, lack of understanding of what rape does, not want to report the attacker because it is an acquaintance and self-blame. These factors and lack of knowledge put the college students at a higher risk of becoming victimized and the imperative issue is often there is no justice because of the lack of reporting when there is a crime of this nature. The number of women who have experienced sexual assault and rape is extremely high according to studies. In the NCWSV study reports showed that the amount of female students who had been victimized (not sexually assaulted) was 27.7 out of every one thousand students (Fisher, Cullen & Turner, 2000). However when indicating the number of woman who had been raped as well as sexually assaulted this number went up to 57. These numbers were taken as estimates over the process of half of a year however the researchers express concerns that these numbers are still very intimidating considering that there are many variables to include like what time a year the rapes and sexual assaults took place. In all it is estimated that for every one thousand college women there is around 35 of them that have been victimized.
Rape can have serious and dramatic effects on college students who do not report the assault. Out of the twenty percent of college women who reported there attack for one survey there is proof that these women are at a higher risk of developing certain behaviors that put their health at risk. Some of these behaviors include physical abuse and or fighting with partners, smoking, drinking, drug use, multiple partners and suicide thoughts. In comparison with women who do not experience sexual assault/rape these women show a higher risk for taking part in all of these health risk behaviors. The suggested reasoning for the relationship between sexual assault/rape and health risk behaviors is that the behavior was prevalent and increased women’s risks of being assaulted and that the behavior was a direct reflection of the assault. There is also a possibility of the behavior working in “both directions” which means that the sexual assault rape was a direct result from the, at risk behavior and the behavior continued because of the assault (Berner, Warren, McMahon & Douglas, 1999). This risk behavior can have other equally negative effects on the person(s) that are affected. Reports on sexual assault/rape indicate that out of all of the assaults at least 58% of the victims were injured. Women who undergo this type of trauma have shown more susceptibility to serious illnesses like “asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, and diabetes, and are also more likely to suffer from chronic pain, frequent headaches, difficulty sleeping, smoking, to have high cholesterol and hypertension, and to be obese.” Along with this long list of injuries it is reported that women who are sexually assaulted also have a higher risk of contracting many infectious diseases including HIV (Council, 2014). These risks are definitely disruptive to a young person’s learning process as if the assault was not traumatizing and disruptive enough. A person experiencing any number of these issues as a result of a sexual assault or rape will likely have difficulty dealing with or remedying any of these issues without the support they will need and can obtain from reporting the victimization.
When it comes to gathering evidence for conviction the report is the most important thing. Considering the fact that so many college assaults go unreported this can cause a major gap in the amount of suspects who are convicted and the ones who simply get away with their crime. However the reason that many people do not report there rape or sexual assault is fear. This fear comes from many different places including the persons own shame which will be something he or she is forced to face should the incident reach a trial proceeding. Through ought history if a woman reported a rape she was treated suspiciously which has not changed as time has went by as much as some would like. If the woman was to be sexually active with more than one partner or outside of marriage all of these things were taken into account to see how reliable her statement about said suspect might be. Often women without signs of some type of real physical harm were not believed if they reported such an assault. Since women were viewed with so little acceptance it made many women and even the women today close there selves off from reporting victimizations like these for fears of being ridiculed or made out to be a liar and loose legged. These are not all myths and legends as today there is still the point in the trial where the prosecutor will consider how the jurors will view the woman accusing the suspect if her sexual tendencies are addressed (which they will be) during the trial (Orenstien, 2007). Added to the already victimizing trial is trying to get the evidence you need into the court to prove that the suspect is in fact guilty of the crimes he/she is being accused.
DNA evidence or Deoxyribonucleic acid, detects specific genetic markers making the possibility of identifying a person by this trait significant and valuable in cases that involve rape and sexual assault. There are a percentage of 99.9 that is in a person’s DNA that is the same as everyone else’s however it is the 1% that separates and identifies a person from the rest of society that is needed to obtain a conviction. If the suspect leaves behind there DNA in a case it can be collected to prove who was responsible for the attack. The problem is however that although it is now being used in so many different places there are still issues with what is and is not admissible in court. The usual reason that DNA evidence is not allowed in court is if the results of the test cannot be proven to be scientifically “valid and reliable” (Kaye & Sansabaugh, 2015). When some samples obtained from a crime scene are exposed to elements in the environment like heat, sunlight and bacteria they can become compromised therefore causing some amount of discrepancies in the scientific community regarding there validity.
Penile swabs are used for extracting DNA from a man’s penile region that can help identify any other persons DNA that he has come in contact with recently. It is done by swabbing the penis shaft with two semi moist cotton swabs (sterile water) and one dry cotton swab. Next the scrotum is also swabbed in circular motions all the way to the penis base with two more cotton swabs. If the suspect is arrested within a timely matter of the assault this is the DNA collection process he will go through and it will help forensic investigators determine if there was any transfer of DNA to the suspect from the victim. If a condom is used the suspects fingers are also able to be swabbed for evidence. In 76 % of cases involving penile swabs the victims DNA was found present on the suspect even though only 24% of the victim’s vaginal swabs produced the suspects DNA. Researchers in Germany, the United States, Canada and England cautioned the system that it was possible to extract the same DNA in smaller amounts from the suspects other bodily fluids. However this idea of DNA extraction is not preferred because the chances of the sample getting compromised a greatly increased. This is because when presumptive DNA methods like this are used there is an increase in the possibility that when the blood is diluted the samples are subject to be destroyed (Tobe, Watson & Daeid, 2015). Now that there are other methods no matter the intrusive technique that show less indication of damage or contamination these presumptive methods are used less often in comparison with the alternatives like penile swabs. Common Law allows police officers to collect this evidence in the event that an arrest is made. Common Law states that “Police have the power to search and seize anything in the possession of or in the immediate surroundings of the arrested party, to guarantee the safety of the police and the accused, to prevent escape or provide evidence against the accused” (Kaye & Sansabaugh, 2015). If there is an opportunity to collect this evidence with little force than it is one of the greatest links of biological evidence that can be collected linking the suspect to the victim. When determining the admissibility of evidence in court it is important to have the most up to date and scientifically proven evidence so that there is less room for the defense to have any evidence thrown out on technicalities that could potentially be the reason a suspect is convicted.
Some of the predictors of sexual assault and rape include a vicious cycle of child sexual abuse. The research gathered showed that two of the strongest predictors for males who became adult predators included their own experience with sexual abuse as children as well as the loss of one or both parents. This was based mostly on research gathered from perpetrators who report that they were once victims who followed the cycle to become the victimizer. Perpetrators report that there choice in victims depends mainly on their persons physical characteristics. For many situations the perpetrator will look for similar victims to the ones that mimic their own traumatization. There is no research however that identifies the reason why no matter the statistics how most perpetrators are men and most often victims are women. The research that is available does suggest that many male suspects who were victims once let those emotions out in a way that is damaging to others while females who were victims hold there destruction inside mostly doing damage to them. There is more research suggesting another reason why males evolve there victimization cycle into attacks on females is so that they can achieve a feeling of masculinity from there attack that was most likely taken away when they were victims of similar sexual assaults and abuse (GLASSER, 2001).
Rape victims are often subject to more victimization then they experience with the initial rape. Traumatizing as a rape may be reliving this experience can prove to be just as challenging if not more and to relive the trauma every day is what a victim will face if he/she chooses to report the attack. Labeling is what some victims are forced to deal with when they report the rape as society often blames a victim of sexual assault/rape for being at least partially responsible for their situation. This in turn creates an acceptance in society of the sexual assault/rape and makes it more difficult for the victims of this to get any type of justice. When there is minimal justice for victims who are busy defending their dignity there is not a lot of prevention methods available to help make a change. As times have changed rape has become less socially acceptable and victims are given more recognition than they used to be however the change has not been enough. Victims are still forced to undergo lengthy trials where there entire life and list of sexual partners is paraded in front of a jury in an attempt to prove that they in fact brought the rape upon themselves or are lying which creates a hostile environment for these victims. In most cases the female is portrayed as someone who led the perpetrator on or lured them in making themselves a victim (Victims, 2015). Men are not given a credible standpoint either as victims as society looks at men as masculine and finds it hard to believe they did not want the sexual intercourse that they are talking about being a victim of. With society seeing rape in such a distorted view it makes the victim susceptible to even more trauma that may feel like is unnecessary. If the rape were to go unreported there would be more of a chance that they would not have to undergo these other traumatizing labels and this is often times why victims do not report their attackers. The power balance theory suggests that sexual attacks against women are a result of there being an imbalance of power between men and woman as perceived by society. However it is suggested that allowing there to be a separation of power as opposed to equal power between men and women allows further chances for men to feel that it is okay to treat women in this way and often times they do not see themselves as victimizers. Cultures that perceive men as superior are not the only factor responsible for victimization but research suggests that there is a large implication that they are a major factor (Kalra & Bhugra, 2013).
Recent statistics report that the number of reported, forcible incidences of sexual assault and rape have been declining from around 100 victims every year in the years 2004 through 2006 that were reported to local and campus police. However the student self-reports indicate that underreporting is still a major concern. This is a major difference considering that .02 percent of rape cases were reported and the students self-survey reported that in fact three percent of college woman are the actual number of victims that experience rape and sexual assault during an academic year of nine months. That is 30 rapes and sexual assaults for every 1000 students that did not report there victimization to authorities and left the offender free to commit the crime again or even become more violent and deviant. The scientific community does not recognize the results of these studies as they contend that the surveys are not put together and worded properly however the studies do raise the question about how accurate police statistics really are considering that most victims are less than inclined to report their attack (Justice, 2015).
• Berner, Warren, McMahon, & Douglas,. (1999). Forced Sexual Intercourse and Associated Health Risk Behaviors Among Female College Students in the United States (1st ed., pp. 252-259). Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Retrieved from http://www.u.arizona.edu/~sexasslt/arpep/pdfs/prevalenceadhs.pdf
• Bryden, D., & Lengnick, S. (1997). Rape in the Criminal Justice System. The Journal Of Criminal Law And Criminology (1973-), 87(4), 1212 and 1303. doi:10.2307/1144018
• Campbell, R. (2005). Understanding Rape and Sexual Assault: 20 Years of Progress and Future Directions. Journal Of Interpersonal Violence, 20(1), 127-131. doi:10.1177/0886260504268604
• Council, W. (2014). RAPE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT: A RENEWED CALL TO ACTION (1st ed., p. 16). The whitehouse council. Retrieved from http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/sexual_assault_report_1-21-14.pdf
• Fisher, B., Cullen, F., & Turner, M. (2000). The sexual Victimization of College Women (1st ed., pp. 1 and 17). NCJRS. Retrieved from https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/182369.pdf
• GLASSER, M. (2001). Cycle of child sexual abuse: links between being a victim and becoming a perpetrator. The British Journal Of Psychiatry, 179(6), 482-494. doi:10.1192/bjp.179.6.482
• Justice, I. (2015). Measuring Frequency | National Institute of Justice. National Institute of Justice. Retrieved 16 February 2015, from http://www.nij.gov/topics/crime/rape-sexual-violence/campus/pages/measuring.aspx
• Kalra, G., & Bhugra, D. (2013). Sexual violence against women: Understanding cross-cultural intersections. Indian J Psychiatry, 55(3), 244. doi:10.4103/0019-5545.117139
• Kamenetz, A. (2014). The History of Campus Sexual Assault. NPR.org. Retrieved 16 February 2015, from http://www.npr.org/blogs/ed/2014/11/30/366348383/the-history-of-campus-sexual-assault
• Kaye, D., & Sansabaugh, G. (2015). Reference Guide on DNA Evidence (1st ed., pp. 5 and 13). California: California University. Retrieved from http://www.fjc.gov/public/pdf.nsf/lookup/sciman09.pdf/$file/sciman09.pdf
• Orenstien, A. (2007). Special issues raised by rape trial. Fordham Law Review, 76(3), 7. Retrieved from http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=4333&context=flr
• Tobe, S., Watson, N., & Daeid, N. (2015). Invasive searches: penile washings, bodily examinations, and other investigative considerations for sex-related offences. (1st ed., p. 7). Journal of forensic sciences. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1556-4029.2006.00324.x/abstract;jsessionid=C5714AA05D67843177E85E3A53846EF9.f03t03?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false
• Victims, S. (2015). Sociological Deviance and Labeling Theory in Rape Victims. Academia.edu. Retrieved 16 February 2015, from http://www.academia.edu/5379799/Sociological_Deviance_and_Labeling_Theory_in_Rape_Victims
The social learning theory and the control balance theory offer an important theoretical foundation for this study. According to the former, individuals learn by observing the behaviour of other people within their social context, resulting in the intergenerational transmission of aggression. Sexual aggression is not inevitable, but it is socialized and shaped by the perceived or actual consequences, which means that sexual aggression is likely to continue if it is reinforced by rewarding consequences. Effectively, if sexual offences are not reported, then the offenders’ estimation of the risk of negative consequences for their actions is reduced, which in turn encourages them to offend. Specifically, violence against women and other vulnerable members of society is modelled at the societal and individual levels, with learners forming perceptions and expectations (social information processing) through the experiences of different socializing agents. Sexual aggression yields benefits (e.g. relieving tension) and with a diminished rate of punishment, possible offenders over-estimate the benefits leading to actual (re)offending.
On the other hand, the control balance theory of deviance emphasizes the factors that control or restrain individuals’ behaviour. It considers individuals as agents of control as against subjects of their social environment. Some individuals suffer from control deficits while others have a surplus of control. All individuals have some measure of control that they exert or are subject to. The balance between the amount of control exercised by one and the control that they are under shapes the behaviour of the individuals. Control balance often flows from and leads to conformity, while control imbalance is associated with deviance. Deviancy (rape/sexual assault) is likely to occur in situations where individuals are more controlling than controlled or controlled than controlling. Effectively, it is the balance of control/power (control ratio) between the victim and the perpetrator that determines the probability of the assault occurring. Tittle’s theory is more subtle, not least because it argues that control balance shapes the motivation, opportunity, constraint and provocation, which in turn opens up a role for normative and explanatory theories in criminology. The proposed study conceives the lack of reporting or low rate of rate of rape/sexual assault detection as a source power of the perpetrators, which in turn lead to offending.
Dependent & Independent Variables
Braithewaite, J. (1997). Charles Tittle's Control Balance and Criminological Theory. Theoretical Criminology vol. 1 no. 1, 77-97.
While this source is slightly dated, it is an extremely important paper on Tittle’s control balance theory. It provides a great background to the control balance theory, its relevance to theory and research, as well as past applications to empirical work. The paper argues that control balance theory subtly suggests that the control rations shape the motivation, provocation, constraint and opportunity for deviant behaviour, which creates a role for more theories on understanding criminal behaviour. The source is reliable in part because it is published in a reputable academic journal, but also because of the author’s qualifications and experience. Braithwaite is a professor at the Australian National University, widely published author, researcher and founder of the Regulatory Institutions Network.
Burchill, J. W. (2011). Invasive searches: penile washings, bodily examinations, and other investigative considerations for sex-related offences. Police Practice & Research, 12(1), 35-49. doi:10.1080/15614261003589839.
Burchill (2011) presents yet another dimension of sexual offences that impede reporting, forensic investigation and sustaining the evidence in court. The invasive forensic investigation of (saliva, foreign materials, blood, debris, hair, saliva and other materials found on genitals after sexual intercourse) serve to provide critical evidence. However, given the invasiveness require to obtain them, stringent laws regulate the ability of law enforcement agencies to access to use it in court. This paper includes a detailed literature review of common law on the use of penile swabs in forensic investigations across Europe, the United States and Canada. This is important, not least because sexual offences involve few witnesses, and thus the ease of evidence gathering and admissibility of the same in court is important to law enforcement.
Cuevas, C. A., & Sabina, C. (2010). Final Report: Sexual Assault Among Latinas Study. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.
This report shows that the vast majority of sexual assaults against women and girls go unreported. It estimates that just 36%, 34% and 26% of rapes, attempted rapes, and sexual assaults are reported to the law enforcement agencies. The reasons for the failure to report are different and varied. They include guilt or self-blame embarrassment, shame and the desire to keep assaults private. Others include fear of being blamed for the attack and lack of trust in the law enforcement agencies. This study established that victims did not commonly report offences to the criminal justice system, and instead sought help from informal support (including friends and family). About a third of the victims did not report incidences of assault or rape to anyone. The findings are important for the proposed study, not only because they point to a high rate of non-reporting of rape and sexual assault, but also the reasons. Further, the results provide a preliminary support for the need for a study such as the one proposed. The report is credible, peer-reviewed, and the authors are well-experienced researchers and academics.
Felson, R. B., & Lane, K. J. (2009). Social learning, sexual and physical abuse, and adult crime. Aggressive Behavior, 35(6), 489-501. doi:10.1002/ab.20322.
Socialization of deviant behaviour (crime) among children may have the consequence of transferring the behaviour to future generations. This study examined the relationship between childhood sexual and physical abuse and the nature of crimes committed by male adults. Using the discriminant prediction method to establish the relationship between the independent and dependent variables, the researchers drew data from the Survey of Inmates in States & Federal Correctional Facilities database, which revealed that offenders modelled specific offences that they had been exposed to in childhood. Offenders that had been sexually abused were most likely to engage in similar crimes (and most likely against children), in the same way that adults that had been physically abused were just as likely to commit violent offences. In addition, the results showed that sexual and physical violence offenders often specialized in the commission of the same crimes. This study results give weight to the social learning theory, which also forms the theoretical foundation of the proposed study. It also offers important empirical and theoretical material that is helpful to understanding the proposed research study. Felson and Lane are widely published authors, researchers and lecturers at the Pennsylavania State University’s Department of Crime, Law and Justice and Sociology.
Fisher, B. S. (2004). easuring Rape Against Women: The significance of Survey Questions. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice.
Fisher explores the technical issues involved in the measurement of rape/sexual assault, which is especially relevant for the proposed study will also try to measure the rates and nature of offences. This paper asserts that other than the definitional differences of key concepts, the reliance on self-reporting by the subjects raises difficulties in verifying information volunteered. Further, factors such as drug use and alcohol affect the subjects’ judgment, besides the fact that the individuals’ cultural and other factors may colour their perception of sexual assault or rape, as well as their willingness to report them (even in a study). With a full understanding of the issues identified in this study, the proposed study will take deliberate measures to mitigate against the effects of the methodological deficiencies inherent in studies of this nature.
Fisher, B., Cullen, T. F., & Turner, M. (2000). Sexual Victimization of College Women. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice.
This is a research report on the sexual victimization of college-going women in the United States, compiled on behalf of the US Department of Justice. It argues that young women in colleges face a heightened risk of rape/sexual assault compared to the general population, with up to 350 rapes a year per 10,000 population of female students. Further, this report finds that women may not categorize sexual victimization as a crime for multiple reasons, which among other factors, contributes to the perpetration of the crimes and low rates of reporting. Even most importantly, this report includes parallel findings from surveys done by the National Institute of Justice and the Bureau of Justice Statistics, which is highly insightful given the methodological differences and samples used. In addition, the proposed study benefits from the definitions of rape/sexual assault included in this report, design of the tools and variables etc., from the wealth of studies included. The authors are leading academics and researchers. Fisher and Cullen are Fellows in the Centre for Criminal Justice Research and professors at the University of Cincinnati’s Division of Criminal Justice and Research, while Turner is an associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Rennison, C. M. (2002). Rape and Sexual Assault: Reporting to Police and Medical Attention, 1992-2000. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice .
This report provides information on the effects of sexual assault and rape for female victims, including the rates of completed and attempted rape, as well as incidents reported to the law enforcement agencies between 1992 and 2000. Victims injured and treated due to sexual assaults, or rape are also provided. The report indicates that the victims were the most likely to report sexual offences, with 45% of female victims that are injured reporting the assaults, but 22% of injured victims sought medical attention but did not report the incidents to the police. Given the youthfulness and sexual inexperience of college students, it is likely that their ability to cope with sexual assault and rape is worse than the general population, and thus the rates of victims seeking medical attention or even reporting the offences are likely to be low. Effectively, this study sets a perfect foundation for the proposed study to not only determine the current rates of reporting, but perhaps most importantly, the possibility of the risk of attack being influenced by the perception of detection/reporting risk.
Taylor, S. C., & Gassner, L. (2010). Stemming the flow: challenges for policing adult sexual assault with regard to attrition rates and under-reporting of sexual offences. Police Practice & Research, 11(3), 240-255. doi:10.1080/15614260902830153.
The police play a central a central symbolic, cultural and professional role in the detection/prosecution of sexual offences, which means they are the gatekeepers of the victims' access to the criminal justice system. However, the very intimate nature of sexual offences means that evidence is difficult to gather, witnesses are unlikely to exist, and victims struggle with multiple layers of trauma that inhibits reporting rates. This paper argues that sexual offences are hugely under-reported to law enforcement agencies, besides the existence of a high attrition rate of reported incidents from the investigation process. It includes an insightful exploration of barriers and predictors of reporting/sexual abuse, and asserts that further collaboration academics and law enforcement agencies is critical to overcoming the difficulties. This article would be helpful providing a helpful background to the proposed research, including the design of research instruments. Other than being published in a reputable academic journal, the article is reliable because the authors are experienced academics (Edith Cowan University) and practitioners in the fields of psychology and criminology.
Truman, J., Langton, L., & Planty, M. (2013). Criminal Victimization, 2012. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice.
This provides updated statistics on criminal victimization (including rape/sexual assault) compiled for, and published by the US Department of Justice. This is essentially an updated version of Rennison (2002), this report allows for the comparison over the two periods in order to establish the extent of the problem and even efficacy of policies implemented (if any) to combat the problem. The statistics show that the population aged below 30 years are worst at risk of rape/sexual assault, which given the finding by Fisher, Cullen, & Turner (2000) that college students are more affected, it is clear that the proposed study is highly pertinent. The report also highlights a worryingly large proportion of victimization incidents that remained unreported to the police, which are consistently more than incidences that have been reported over the period.
Wilson, E. (2012). School-based Research: A Guide for Education Students. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
This book offers a wealth of information and reflections on multiple aspects of school-based research, practical difficulties and ways to overcome them. It includes research designs/methods, research design processes, sampling and data collection, analysis and report compilation. It effectively provides information on the whole research cycle, which has proven critical to the conception and design of the proposed study. While it is specifically meant for teachers, this book is an insightful read, which provides great systematic guidelines for research and the learning needs of new researchers. Dr. Elaine Wilson is a lecturer at the University of Cambridge.
Woods, L. &. (2008). Examining the relationship between sexual offenders and their victims: Interpersonal differences between stranger and non-stranger sexual offences. Journal Of Sexual Aggression, 14(1), 61-75. doi:10.1080/13552600802056640.
This study offers an interesting application of power balance theory, and its influence on risk of rape/assault as well as reporting of the offences. The study sought to establish the behavioural differences in rape/sexual assault offences in relation to the relationship between the victims and the perpetrators. These differences (non-stranger and stranger) were analysed in the context of multiple interpersonal interactions themes i.e. submission, dominance, cooperation and hostility. The researchers analysed information on 100 sexual offences (50 non-stranger and 50 stranger), with results showing that offenders who were known to the victims were likely to be non-violent, compliance-gaining predators and personal compared to strangers. Effectively, victims were more inclined to categorize offences by strangers as rape/sexual assault and thus more likely to report them, compared to those committed by non-strangers.
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