Comment on Bachman (1993): The Victim-Offender Relationship Does Affect Victims' Decisions to Report Sexual Assaults

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Abstract

Bachman (1993) concluded that the prior relationship between the rapist and the victim does not affect the victim's decision to report the crime to the police. The present commentary argues that, for both conceptual and statistical reasons, this conclusion is too strong, although it may simply be premature. Conceptually, the victim-offender relationship is important because it helps both the victim and others define whether or not an action is rape and whether or not reporting the crime to the police would be worthwhile. Statistically, in light of prior findings, Bachman could justifiably have used a one-tailed test of significance. In any case, her results are not significantly different from those of a comparable prior study, which found that the victim-offender relationship was important. Furthermore, Bachman's argument of changing societal standards over time calls for a time-series analysis of victim survey data. A table of reporting percentages for victims of stranger and nonstranger rapists over the past 19 years indicates an increase in reporting of nonstranger rapes over time, although over the entire time period, rapes by strangers were more likely to be reported to the police than were rapes by nonstrangers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-279
Number of pages9
JournalCriminal Justice and Behavior
Volume20
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychology(all)
  • Law

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