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Welcome to my blog. I use this space to share what I am learning about how to end violence in this lifetime.

College women's sexual victimization & my dissertation's nod to intersectionality

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.  

Briefly: sexual revictimization refers to the fact that many victims of sexual violence survive multiple assaults over their lifetimes.  One of the most robust "predictors" of sexual victimization as an adult (over the age of 18) is having been sexually victimized in childhood or adolescence.

Briefly: sexual revictimization refers to the fact that many victims of sexual violence survive multiple assaults over their lifetimes.  One of the most robust "predictors" of sexual victimization as an adult (over the age of 18) is having been sexually victimized in childhood or adolescence.

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.  

One of the most frequently cited prevalence rates for sexual assault is that one of every four women will be raped at some point in her life. But, the “one in four” statistic best describes European American women’s experiences. African American, Latina, and Multiracial women all experience victimization at higher rates.
— Wasco, 2004

In 2005, I presented these findings about ethnicity at the 10th Biennial Conference of the Society for Community Research and Action.

Lifetime Rape Rates Among College Students (N=491)
1 in 4, if European American
More than 1 in 4, if African American
Nearly 1 in 3, if Latina/Hispanic
More than 1 in 3, if Multiracial
— Wasco & Maharaj, 2005

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.   

Pivot point.

Pivot point.