Legal Momentum recently critiqued the new U.S. Crime Reports issued by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) including Crime Against Persons with Disabilities, 2007 and Female Victims of Violence, 2008. Their critique can be read here.
Not only does Legal Momentum critique the flawed methodology that underestimates rape rates against women and persons with disabilities but the organization also recommends a set of questions that researchers can use when conducting studies that are more sensitive to a survivor’s experience.
“It is essential to ask behaviorally-based questions because victims often do not put the label “rape” or “sexual assault” on their experience, especially when the perpetrator is someone they know, as is the case in the significant majority of rapes.”
They also encourage readers to be aware of a few issues when analyzing reports:
“Most offenders have had multiple targets and/or multiple rapes of the same victim (this is especially true in intimate partner sexual abuse cases)…Few studies have measured drug-facilitated or incapacitated rapes. Research suggests that the rate of reporting for victims of these types of assaults is even lower than for non-incapacitated victims.”