College women's sexual victimization & my dissertation's nod to intersectionality
Today, I am using this space to post some never-published findings from the year 2003. Amazingly, that was almost fifteen years ago.
Thankfully, we have come a long way with data visualization and reporting since then, as the teal green PowerPoint slide shown above is one of twenty pages that I printed, cut out (with scissors), and tacked to corkboard for what passed as a poster presentation at yesteryear's conferences.
Here's what took me to the archives. Earlier this month, while working on a peer review of a research report that had been submitted for possible publication in an academic journal, I found myself revisiting the topic of my dissertation: the sexual revictimization of women.
In a nutshell, revictimization refers to the finding that women who report a history of sexual victimization are two to three more times more likely to report subsequent victimization than women with no history of sexual victimization.
Life's not fair. It makes me nuts.
The revictimization phenomenon is robust, with many researchers replicating the pattern of results in multiple studies over a period of years and across many different settings.
The current-day paper that I was reviewing was so similar to my ancient-history dissertation work that I ended up spending several hours re-reading my previous writing on this topic. In the last two sentences of the paper I was reviewing, the 2017 author(s) called for "future research that includes more diverse samples." A sample, perhaps, like my past research.
The call stirred a deep-seated regret that, by not working harder to publish my dissertation study, I had squandered a sample of college women that was notable for its ethnic diversity. Of the 506 college women that enrolled in my study and completed surveys, just 31.1% of them identified as European American. And one of the simpler patterns revealed in those data -- merely a "descriptive finding" in my results section -- is that women of different ethnic identities experience different rates of victimization.
In 2005, I presented these findings about ethnicity at the 10th Biennial Conference of the Society for Community Research and Action.
I wanted to share with you, people of the Internet, "my data" that hold me strong to the belief that all forms of oppressions are interconnected such that, for example, racism and ableism and transphobia intersect with sexism to concentrate harm, for example sexual violence, among women with marginalized identities.
Despite the discouraging reality that today's research has not progressed too far from the study I designed in 2002, I remain grateful for today's activists in an increasingly intersectional movement that give hope that yes, prevention is possible; and taking a stand really does matter.