Fisher, B. S., et al. (2006). "Reporting Sexual Victimization to the Police and Others: Results From a National-Level Study of College Women." Bartol, Curt R [Ed]: 149-159.
(create) Figures have revealed that the majority of female rape and sexual assault victims are between the ages of 16 and 24 (Rennison, 1999). It is not surprising, then, that considerable attention has been given to the sexual victimization of college women. Existing research has shown that college women are at an elevated risk for victimization. This study attempted to build on existing information in several ways. First, this study analyzed national-level data with detailed measures to uncover sexual victimization-reporting practices by college women. A second advance this study attempted to make was methodological, by employing a two-stage measurement strategy used by the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). Third, this study examined the likelihood of reporting across multiple forms of sexual victimization. Fourth, it focused simultaneously on characteristics of offenders, victims, and incidents that influence reporting of sexual victimization and explored the impact of multiple factors within each category. Fifth, this study investigated reporting to police as well as reporting to campus officials and to third parties. Finally, the results of this study have implications for the ongoing debate between feminist and conservative scholars over the extent to which sexual victimization is a problem that warrants intervention. Accordingly, the closing sections of this article discuss the salience of the findings for these competing perspectives.
Littleton, H. L. (2010). "The impact of social support and negative disclosure reactions on sexual assault victims: a cross-sectional and longitudinal investigation." J Trauma Dissociation 11(2): 210-227.
Social support is an important factor in posttrauma adjustment. However, little research has simultaneously evaluated helpful and harmful aspects of support on victims' post-assault adjustment, as well as the relationships among these variables over time. The current study evaluated perceived support and negative disclosure reactions as predictors of post-assault factors in a sample of 262 college rape victims. Of these women, 74 completed a 6-month follow-up. Analyses suggested that perceived support and negative disclosure reactions may play unique roles in victims' adjustment. Implications for future research examining the role of different aspects of support in posttrauma recovery are discussed.
Paul, L. A., et al. (2013). "College Women's Experiences With Rape Disclosure: A National Study." Violence Against Women 19(4): 486-502.
Disclosure of a rape to informal support sources (e.g., friends) is a relatively common experience, but it is not well understood. This study expands our limited knowledge of the characteristics and life experiences of disclosure recipients among a national sample of 2,000 female college students. Over 40% of respondents reported having received a rape disclosure, and more than two thirds of these recipients encouraged victims to formally report their rapes to the police or other authorities. Correlates of disclosure receipt and encouragement of reporting, including personal assault history, mental health history, and substance use, are presented and discussed.
Thompson, M., et al. (2007). "Reasons for not reporting victimizations to the police: Do they vary for physical and sexual incidents?" Journal of American College Health 55(5): 277-282.
Victimization is a significant problem among college students, but it is less likely to be reported to the police than are victimizations in the general population. Objective: In this study, the authors examined (1) whether reasons for not reporting varied by type of victimization (sexual or physical) and (2) victim-, offender-, and incident-related predictors of these reasons. Participants: To address these objectives, the authors used data collected from 492 female college students. Methods: The authors recruited women via flyers placed around campus that asked them to come to the student health center to complete anonymous surveys. Results: Findings from within-subject analyses indicated that women were more likely to cite the following reasons for not reporting a sexual rather than a physical victimization: the incident would be viewed as their fault, they were ashamed, they did not want anyone to know about the incident, or they did not want the police involved. Results from logistic regression analyses indicated that the predictors of not reporting also varied across crime types. Conclusions: The authors discuss study implications for campus-based prevention strategies.
Ullman, S. E., et al. (2008). "Exploring the relationships of women's sexual assault disclosure, social reactions, and problem drinking." Journal of Interpersonal Violence 23(9): 1235-1257.
The goal of this exploratory study was to examine correlates of sexual assault disclosure and social reactions in female victims with and without drinking problems. An ethnically diverse sample of sexual assault survivors was recruited from college, community, and mental health agencies. Ethnic minority women were less likely to disclose assault, and women with a greater number of traumatic life events disclosed assault more often. Although there were no differences in disclosure likelihood by drinking status; of those disclosing, problem drinkers told more support sources and received more negative and positive social reactions than nonproblem drinkers. Correlates of receiving negative social reactions were similar for normal and problem drinkers; however, negative social reactions to assault disclosure were related to more problem drinking for women with less frequent social interaction. Implications for future research and possible support interventions with problem-drinking victims are provided.
Zinzow, H. and M. Thompson (2011). "Barriers to reporting sexual victimization: Prevalence and correlates among undergraduate women." Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma 20(7): 711-725.
This study examined the frequency and correlates of barriers to reporting sexual victimization to law enforcement. Participants were 127 female undergraduate sexual assault victims who completed self-report surveys. The most frequently reported barriers were "I handled it myself" and "I didn't think it was serious enough." Factor analysis of the reported barriers items revealed two factors: shame/not wanting others involved and did not acknowledge the event as a crime/handled it myself. Shame/not wanting others involved was positively associated with physical injury, being victimized by a relative, and self-blame. Acknowledgment/handled it myself was negatively associated with being victimized by a relative. Findings suggest that intervention efforts should focus on increasing acknowledgment, decreasing negative reactions to disclosure, and decreasing victims' self-blame.