We provide an overview of emerging directions in the measurement of rape, the most extreme form of sexual victimization. The context for our overview is how operational definitions of rape have evolved, where consensus has emerged, and where it eludes the field. We discuss two approaches to the detection of rape victimization in survey methods, namely behaviorally specific questions and a new, two-stage approach, and how each can be evaluated in terms of validity. We point out promises and pitfalls of the two-stage approach and make suggestions for its implementation and evaluation. We conclude that all empirical research to date supports the use of behaviorally specific compared to broad questions, that a standard definition of rape and its components of act, tactics, and nonconsent is imperative to move the field forward, and that research to systematically validate methods of detecting rape victimization is needed. To that end, we propose an agenda.
- construct validity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Gender Studies
- Sociology and Political Science