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NCJ Number: 220302 Find in a Library
Title: Unacknowledged Rape: How Much Do We Know About the Hidden Rape Victim?
Journal: Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment, & Trauma  Volume:14  Issue:4  Dated:2007  Pages:57-74
Author(s): Heather L. Littleton; Deborah L. Rhatigan; Danny Axsom
Date Published: 2007
Page Count: 18
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article reviews what is known about unacknowledged rape and discusses theories that explain this phenomenon.
Abstract: This review presents evidence that unacknowledged rape is prevalent and may have distressing consequences for the victim that are similar to those experienced by victims who acknowledge and report their rape to the police; however, there are some differences between acknowledged and unacknowledged rape victims. These include patterns of disclosure, self-blame, risk for revictimization, and posttraumatic symptoms. In addition, not acknowledging rape is apparently due to a number of causes. It may be initially due to a misunderstanding of what constitutes rape, i.e., an unwillingness to accept that what happened to them was a crime. Over time, additional factors come into play, such as others' response and experiencing distress. It is currently unclear whether unacknowledged rapes are associated with more, less, or similar levels of distress as acknowledged rapes. More work is required in order to develop a comprehensive understanding of unacknowledged rape. There is a need for longitudinal research that will examine the consequences of experiencing an unacknowledged rape over time, focusing on the difference in the impact of acknowledged and unacknowledged rape. If differences emerge, it will be important to determine the extent to which they result from the characteristics of the assault compared with victim appraisal of the assault. 3 tables and 38 references
Main Term(s): Sexual assault victims
Index Term(s): Citizen crime reporting; Psychological victimization effects; Public Opinion of Crime; Rape; Research programs
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