Sampling Techniques and Methodological Limitations

Variations in quantification and sampling techniques, along with survivors' reluctance to report sexual abuses, also challenge our ability to compare studies. The FBI's Uniform Crime Reports give the number of rape incidents that are reported each year and the rate per 100,000 inhabitants in the United States. A number of reported rapes are "unfounded" by police every year as "false" or "baseless." No explanation is given for why many more reported rapes are unfounded by the police than other major crimes of violence. Russell and Bolen (2000, p. 49) suggest that some policemen subscribe to the same rape myths as the general populace. One such myth is the belief that most reported rapes are invented by women to protect their reputations. In recognition of the fact that most crimes are not reported, a second annual measure is the Bureau of Justice Statistics National Crime Victimization Survey (NCS) to assess the extent and character of criminal victimization in the United States. A representative sample of male and female household residents aged 12 or older are interviewed. The NCS's 1974 San Francisco incidence rate of 5.0 per 1,000 female residents was higher than the FBI's 1978 San Francisco incidence rate of 1.7 per 1,000 female residents. Russell, avoiding some limitations of both federal surveys, found an incidence rate of 36.7 per 1,000 female residents in her 1978 study, more than seven times higher than the NCS rate. Some of the methodological differences that resulted in Russell's obtaining a truer picture of the San Francisco rape incidence include collecting qualitative data on how respondents understood the questions, using rape-appropriate methods such as face-to-face interviews, pretesting interview schedules, not farming out the fieldwork to other professionals, rejecting victim-blaming interviewer applicants, and conveying a non-victim-blaming attitude by the interviewers (Russell & Bolen, 2000, pp. 41-46). Survivor reluctance to disclose sexual abuse is a universal problem for researchers. West (1998a, p. 163) found that, while partner violence is as prevalent among gays as it is among heterosexuals, many gays are afraid to report incidents to the police who, for their part, do not count same-sex violence in domestic violence reports. Russell and Bolen (2000, p. 27) list 13 factors discouraging women from reporting their rape experiences to the police. The top reasons were survivors' concerns about their families knowing that they had been raped, people blaming them for the attack, and people outside their families knowing about the rape. Many minority women do not report attackers who belong to their ethnic group out of a sense of loyalty. Minority women raped by men of the majority culture may opt not to report because they anticipate no justice from a racist system. In post-Communist Czechoslovakia (Siklova & Hradilkova, 1994), women do not report rape for many of the same reasons, including distrust of the authorities and the social damage inflicted on victims in public trials.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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