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Studies on the Dark Figure for Sexual Victimization Using Questionnaires (From Verbrechensopfer, P 275-299, 1979, Gerd Ferdinand Kirchhoff and Klaus Sessar, ed. - See NCJ-72716)

NCJ Number
C Kirchhoff; G F Kirchhoff
Date Published
25 pages
Results of survey studies on aftereffects of sexual victimization in the lives and sexual development of American and German students are examined.
Data derive from questionnaires completed by students of the Technical University of the Lower Rhine (130 females and 113 males) and of Western Michigan University (138 females and 70 males) in 1974 and 1977. Similar patterns of the widely separated groups suggest that the questionnaire approach is valid. Some type of victimization was reported by 95 percent of the Michigan sample and 55 percent of the German sample. The difference is attributed to the greater degree of anonymity for American students and to more stringent laws on sexual offenses in Michigan than in Germany. For the German group analyzed, sexual abuse of children is the most common offense reported, although this offense constitutes only 38 percent of the victimizations among female students. Violent sexual victimization is relatively rare. The average age of offenders victimizing female respondents is 27.3 years and victimizing male respondents is 20.7 years. Except for exhibitionism, most of the offenses are committed by individuals known to the victims. Significantly more female than male students report being shocked and offended. Only 3 percent of the offenses against males and 11 percent apainst females are made known to the police. Study results suggest that sexual victimization does not cause victims to become sexually active at an earlier age than the norm and that early sexual development and interest may encourage victimization. Possible connections between social conditions such as family dynamics and victimization and possible differences between reported and unreported victimization cases require further research. Tables, notes, and a 32-item bibliography are supplied.