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Draft Final Technical Report: The Impact of Victim Self-Protection on Rape Completion and Injury

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2004
76 pages
This study of the effects of self-protective (SP) resistance by victims of rape attacks found that SP actions significantly reduced the probability of rape completion and did not significantly increase the risk of serious injury.
The study analyzed the largest probability sample of sexual assault incidents available, which was derived from the National Crime Victimization Survey for 1992-2002. In order to provide a basis for comparison, assault cases that involved female victims were also analyzed. The final samples consisted of 733 rape attacks, 1,278 sexual assaults, and 12,235 assault incidents that involved female victims. The study methodology sought to remedy weaknesses of prior data and research methodologies, which have included small nonprobability samples, failing to consider the temporal sequence of victim protective actions and injury, lumping various victim protective actions into two or three broad categories, and failing to control for relevant circumstances. Logistic regression analysis in the current study found that most SP actions, both forceful and nonforceful, significantly reduced the risk of rape completion regardless of conditions, such as whether the offender was a sexual intimate, whether the offender was under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, whether there were multiple offenders, and whether the attacks occurred at home or at night. In assault incidents, most SP tactics apparently reduced the risk of injury and serious injury compared to nonresistance. SP actions that significantly reduced the risk of injury included "attacking without a weapon," "threatening without a weapon," "running away/hiding," and "calling the police." The only SP actions that apparently raised the risk of injury were ambiguous and nonforceful tactics such as "stalling/cooperation," and "screaming from pain or fear." Suggestions are offered for future research. 4 tables and 47 references

Date Published: April 1, 2004