This study had four key goals. The first goal was to identify how many women in the United States and in college settings have ever been raped or sexually assaulted during their lifetime and within the past year. This included the number of women who experienced rape that involved (a) force (i.e., forcible rape); (b) drugs, alcohol, or other intoxicants deliberately given to the victim by the perpetrator (i.e., drug-facilitated rape); or (c) self-induced intoxication by the victim (i.e., incapacitated rape). The next goal was to identify key case characteristics of drug-facilitated and forcible rapes, including the percentage of cases that involve injury, involve strangers vs. known perpetrators, are reported to law enforcement, involve receipt of medical care, and enter the criminal justice system. The third goal was to examine factors that affect the willingness of women to report rape to law enforcement or to seek help from their support network. The last goal was to make comparisons between the different types of rape with regard to (a) the numbers of women affected in the United States and college settings, (b) risk factors, (c) reporting to law enforcement, and (d) mental health consequences.
Part 1 (General Population) data consisted of a national telephone household sample of 3,001 United States women, whereas Part 2 (College Population) data consisted of 2,000 college women selected from a reasonably representative national list of women attending four year colleges and universities.
For Part 1, researchers used random-digit-dial (RDD) methods to introduce a randomization process in the selection of land line telephone numbers. For Part 2 (College Population), a sample was recruited using the
American Student List (ASL), the largest and most widely used list of college students in the United States.
Interviews were completed between January 23 and June 26, 2006. Schulman, Ronca, and Bucuvalas, Inc. (SRBI) conducted the interviews. Women aged 18 years and over were interviewed using a computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) system. English and Spanish versions of the structured interview were developed.
When a residence had more than one woman who met study criteria, the woman with the most recent birthday was selected for interview. Consent to proceed with the interview was obtained from each survey respondent.
Two steps were taken to increase the likelihood that questions could be answered in an open and honest manner with a reasonable degree of privacy. First, the interviewer specifically asked whether the woman was in a situation where they could be assured of privacy and could answer in an open manner. If the woman said that she could not, the interviewer offered to call back at another time when privacy was more likely. Second, the interview schedule was designed primarily with closed-ended questions.
The Part 1 (General Population) data were formed from two population samples: a national cross-section of 2,000 women aged 18-34 years plus a national cross-section of 1,000 women aged 35 years and older. Researchers used random-digit-dial (RDD) methodology to recruit this sample. Recruitment of this sample involved three steps. First, the sample was geographically stratified to ensure that it was distributed across regions of the country at the same proportion as is the population. Second, a sample of assigned land line telephone banks was randomly selected from an enumeration of the Working Residential Hundreds Block (blocks of 100 telephone numbers) within the active telephone exchanges within the strata. Third, a two-digit number was randomly generated by a computer for each Working Residential Hundreds Block. Every telephone number within the Hundreds Block had an equal probability of being selected, regardless of whether it was listed or unlisted.
The Part 2 (College Population) data originated from a list sample for college women that was purchased from the American Student List (ASL). The sampling frame was restricted to women attending
four-year institutions of higher education.
The sample purchased contained about 17,000 respondents in order to generate responses that were similar to the national census representation of college women. The sample was classified into nine regions: New England, Mid Atlantic, East North Central, West North Central, South Atlantic, East South Central, West South Central, Mountain, and Pacific. The sample was then released to be dialed (land lines only) in proportion to the national census representation of college women. This procedure was designed to ensure adequate representation of the United States population of college women. There were 253 different schools included in the sample from 47 different states.
A total of 5,001 women formed two groups on the basis of the population from which they were recruited.
For Part 1 (General Population): United States population of women aged 18 years or older between January 23 and June 26, 2006. For Part 2 (College Population): Women attending four year colleges and universities in the United States between January 23 and June 26, 2006.
Both data parts contain the same 399 variables. Respondents were asked questions regarding risk perception, fear of violence, and accommodation behavior. The women were also asked their opinions and attitudes about reporting rape to the authorities and disclosing rape to family members, peers, or other individuals. This includes questions about barriers to reporting and experiences that women have had being the recipient of a disclosure from a friend, relative, or other individual. The respondents were asked a series of questions about rape, including different types of forcible, drug- or alcohol-facilitated, and incapacitated rape. For women who endorsed one or more rape experiences, a wide range of rape characteristics were assessed including characteristics around the nature of the event, perpetrator-victim relationship, occurrence of injury, involvement of drugs or alcohol, receipt of medical care, and whether the rape was reported to the authorities. The respondents were also asked a series of questions regarding substance use, including prescription and illegal drugs and alcohol. Additionally, a series of questions related to post-traumatic stress disorder and depression were asked. Finally, the women were asked to provide basic demographic information such as age, race, ethnicity, and income.
For Part 1 (General Population), the cooperation rate was 65.3 percent. For Part 2 (College Population) no cooperation rate information is available.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was assessed with the National Women's Study PTSD module, a structured interview based on DSM-IV criteria. Major Depressive Episode (MDE) was assessed using the National Women's Study MDE module, also a structured interview based on DSM-IV criteria.