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NCJ Number: 200137 Find in a Library
Title: Role of "Real Rape" and "Real Victim" Stereotypes in the Police Reporting Practices of Sexually Assaulted Women
Journal: Violence Against Women  Volume:9  Issue:4  Dated:April 2003  Pages:466-486
Author(s): Janice Du Mont; Karen-Lee Miller; Terri L. Myhr
Date Published: April 2003
Page Count: 21
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses whether myth-associated characteristics of sexual assaults play a role in police reporting behaviors of women.
Abstract: This study focused on the police reporting practices of sexually assaulted women that presented to a hospital-based sexual assault care center in Ontario, Canada, between January 1 and December 31, 1994. The objective was to examine the extent to which sexual assault cases reported to the police were imbued with stereotypes associated with the “real rape,” and “real victim” myths. Also, the study sought to assess whether women that breached “appropriate” standards of behavior or that otherwise did not meet the criteria of “genuine” victims were less likely to bring their cases to the attention of the police. Results suggest that women may be selectively rejecting major components of rape mythology. Women that did not resemble the myth of the “real victim” were as likely as women that did to report the assault to the police. Women of color, those that had been previously assaulted, those that had experienced mental difficulties, and those that had been drinking were equally represented among reported and unreported cases. So too were older women, married women, unemployed women, and those that presented to the hospital center in a calm and matter-of-fact manner. Reporting was more likely to occur when the victim was injured. Women that were physically coerced (had their clothes torn and/or were slapped, kicked, hit, or choked) were approximately three times more likely to contact the police than those that were not. Further research is needed to determine the exact nature of the relationship between woman- and assault-related characteristics, rape mythology, and reporting to the police. 3 tables, 5 notes, 83 references
Main Term(s): Rape research; Victim profiles
Index Term(s): Rape; Rape causes; Sex discrimination; Sexual assault victims; Societal reactions to crime; Victim crime precipitation
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