Objective: Researchers compared rape victimization based on self-identification to the current, federal legal definition in a pilot study of college students. Methods: The sample was comprised of 1,648 (69.8% female; 30.2% male) college students who completed the SES-SFV online. Results: Based on the current, legal definition of rape, 9.4% (11.1% female; 5.2% male) of students had been raped since being enrolled, but only 2.9% of students self-identified as being raped. Moreover, 15.1% of students reported ever being raped, with females acknowledging higher rates (19.7%) than males (4.3%). Conclusions: Rape continues to be a major issue for colleges and universities. A serious concern is the disparity between the number of those who met the behavioral criteria for rape victimization based on the current, legal definition, but who did not self-identify as a victim. Universities must address this disparity by using multiple measures to assess the prevalence of sexual violence on campus.
Journal of American College Health
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Marsil, Dorothy F. and McNamara, Corinne, "An Examination of the Disparity between Self-identified versus Legally-identified Rape Victimization: A Pilot Study" (2015). Faculty Publications. 3584.