Although the past 20 years have seen changes in the statutory definition of rape, its investigation, and its adjudication, for the bulk of this period those responsible for the measurement of rape victimization in national and international crime surveys have clung to inadequate rape screening. Because the resultant victimization estimates failed to capture accurately the incidence of rape, independent researchers tried to fill the data vacuum, a situation that has precluded a cumulative database and promoted an antirape backlash. Flawed federal data ill-serve policy needs and fuel a negative recovery climate for victims. This article argues that it is time for U.S. victimization statistics to measure rape with the same precision accorded other crimes and to communicate more openly to the public the limitations of crime survey methodology to detect intimate violence including rape.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine