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Thread: The perception of sexual violence

  1. #1 The perception of sexual violence 
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    Hey there,

    I am currently conducting an online-survey, developed at the University of Bielefeld (Germany), and I am looking for further participants. The study deals with the perception of sexual violence and it should not take more than 10-15 minutes to complete it.


    Just follow this link to begin: Survey



    I would really appreciate if you could take the time and support my work. Thanks in advance!


    Questions, comments and recommendations are always welcome. I will post the study's results as soon as it's completed, if anyone's interested.


    Last edited by appleyard; July 23rd, 2012 at 12:15 PM.
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  3. #2  
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    You did OK with this until you got to the stuff about penalties and compensation. At which point I abandoned the whole thing.

    None of this can be even guessed at without knowing what charges were involved under what legal system. Same thing goes for the compensation issue.

    I don't know why I bother.

    These things always turn out to be ham-handed, designed by kindergarteners and specifically oriented to getting no useful information of any kind.


    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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    Hm...I did not ask for appropriate penalties or compensations in relation to any specific legal system but for your subjective perception of the rape and the consequences you would assume after having read the case.

    So, though I can relate to your criticism, I would still say these questions can be answered in consideration of their subjective nature.


    Thanks for your comment.
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  5. #4  
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    OK. I went back and did the survey without the scenario. Some of the questions were a bit iffy. I don't know how you'll get good results from this without appropriate sampling or pruning. But that's up to you I suppose.

    If you want to read more on rape and sexual harassment, I strongly recommend Schrodinger's Rapist. Guest Blogger Starling: Schrödinger
    More USA rape /attempted rape statistics. http://www2.binghamton.edu/counselin...ACT_SHEET1.pdf

    One important note. That figure of 1 in 6 women having been raped/sexually assaulted applies to a woman's lifetime risk of ever being raped. It has no correlation with men being likely to be rapists. That figure is more like 1 in 60 or even more. Why? Because a bloke who does it once is unlikely to be a once only offender.
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  6. #5  
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    I started taking the survey then got bored and quit when you started asking questions unrelated to the rape scenario.

    Sometimes when I take a survey like this, I start to think maybe the survey is not about the stated subject, but is really testing something else. Like how long can we get this person to sit there answering irrelevant questions.
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  7. #6  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Another utterly stupid survey.

    Don't universities teach anything about how to design a survey?

    If you don't have a "don't know" option then don't make the questions compulsory. I was not able to get past the first page of questions about the rape.

    Any conclusions you gather from this will be worthless. Are you tracking the number of people who do not complete the survey?

    Or maybe the results don't matter. Perhaps the lecturers just try the survey themselves and fail the students who create the most stupid ones...
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    OK. I went back and did the survey without the scenario. Some of the questions were a bit iffy.
    OK. I did that too. It's not clear how these questions are relevant. It is not clear what some of them mean; for example, what does "the idea of relying on thought to make my way to the top does not appeal to me" mean? Most of the questions about "thinking" are bizarre to say the least.
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  9. #8  
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    Well...thanks for that "constructive criticism".
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    Quote Originally Posted by appleyard View Post
    Well...thanks for that "constructive criticism".
    Sorry if it came across a bit abrupt, but every one of these that gets posted here seems to have some fairly obvious shortcomings. I try to be helpful by filling the surveys but nearly always find out that I either can't answer many questions or have to make up answers (which rather defeats the point).

    One of the most common problems is assuming that the answers you can think of are relevant to everyone. How on earth am I supposed to have an view on prison sentences or compensation levels? That is not something that is a matter of personal opinion. (Or at least, it shouldn't be.)

    Always allow a "don't know" or "other" response (or just don't make answers mandatory).

    Next is confusingly worded questions or ambiguous answers ("it was untrue that I don't dislike this" with answers ranging from "strongly disapprove" to "somewhat plausible"). Several of your "thinking" questions fell into this category. It isn't clear how you define "thinking"; by my definition just walking to the shop requires thought. But I assume you mean something more than that. I just went for the median value for most of these (which, again, I assume limits the value).

    My question was serious: do you actually do a course or get any guidance on designing these surveys? There has been a huge amount of research done on this and it seems to be largely ignored.
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  11. #10  
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    Thank you. Those explanations are a lot more helpful.


    I'm always open to criticism, so if there's anything participants are bothered about, I have to rethink and maybe change it. We do have courses teaching how to conduct surveys (at least basically), so my survey is of course based on what I learned in these and also based on my "supervisor's" opinions/preferences.


    Those questions concerning "thinking" were taken from an established scale, so I just adopted the wording. I would not generally deny these wordings may be a little unfortunate, a native speaker can probably judge this more appropriately.
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  12. #11  
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    so if there's anything participants are bothered about
    OK. I'm bothered.

    I'd really like to be sure that those questions about rape and attempted rape are soundly based in reputable research of some sort. There seems to be no investigation or discussion or avenue for testing ideas about what does and doesn't constitute consent for sexual activity in the opinion of the survey respondents.

    I know there's not a great deal of research in this area, but there are some good papers. Especially those very clever papers/surveys where men self report sexual activity although the word rape is never mentioned. They are simply asked about persisting with sexual activity although the women concerned didn't say 'yes' because they were asleep or drunk or being not-so-subtly pressured.
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    I'd really like to be sure that those questions about rape and attempted rape are soundly based in reputable research of some sort. There seems to be no investigation or discussion or avenue for testing ideas about what does and doesn't constitute consent for sexual activity in the opinion of the survey respondents.

    I know there's not a great deal of research in this area, but there are some good papers. Especially those very clever papers/surveys where men self report sexual activity although the word rape is never mentioned. They are simply asked about persisting with sexual activity although the women concerned didn't say 'yes' because they were asleep or drunk or being not-so-subtly pressured.
    I totally agree with you, adelady.

    I don't know, but the survey seems to show us that the rape isn't that bad if the man is sympathetic and has a good appearance, or if the girl felt flattered, you know?
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    It probably won't rule out all the points you criticised, but things might become a little clearer after having read this (please don't highlight this if you haven't participated yet but still want to):


    What I'm investigating in my research is the effect of linguistic factors on social cognition. In this case I'm examining the effect of labels ("victim" vs. "survivor") on the perception of sexual violence, so there are two conditions, which participants are randomly assigned to. In a former study I tested associations going along with these labels and I found, that "survivor" is being associated more strongly with positive adjectives (e.g. strong, optimistic, active), whereas "victim" is more strongly associated with rather negative ones (e.g. weak, pessimistic, passive).

    So here I'm testing whether these differing associations affect the perception of the woman, the perpetrator and the rape itself when embedded in a rape case. It's rather exploratory, so I decided to conduct several aspects (as ratings of physical attributes). In no way I am trying to show that any case of rape is not a criminal act or in any way acceptable!

    The reason why I chose a rather ambiguous scenario as well as items which may appear a little vague (which, after all, are based on or inspired by items regularly used in research on rape-perception) is to make sure answers can vary. If the case and its outcomes (as measured with the items concerning the rape) were totally clear, this would probably suppress any potential effect of the labels I try to compare. So I am not interested in any "absolute" values but focussing on "relative" ones comparing the "victim"- and the "survivor"-condition.


    Thank you for reading. Hope it's comprehensible.
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    A rather ambiguous scenario
    What the ..... !!??! There's nothing ambiguous in that scenario at all.

    It looks to be a pretty standard, run of the mill, this is how it usually happens rape scenario. If you think that unambiguous rape means evil, smelly, stranger leaps from behind the bushes and violently subdues innocent, angelic virgin then you are waaaaay out of your depth. Sudden, stranger rape accounts for less than 10% of rapes.

    Trying to pick up arcane linguistic subtleties in perceptions and reports of rape when you seem to lack elementary basic knowledge of what rape is and how it usually happens looks to be a very steep mountain to climb. Or have you omitted the description of how you're really trying to pick up social and linguistic cues showing that people really don't understand much about rape and dismiss what they do know as not being "unambiguous" rape.
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    And just in case anyone feels that the bloke in your scenario is 'just' an opportunist, research suggests that he's likely a repeat offender.

    Meet The Predators «

    There's more research being done in this area. I suggest you'd be well advised to get hold of all of the up to date stuff. It's not as though you have to go through tens of thousands of papers on physics or chemistry - this is a newish area with barely a hundred good papers to work through.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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    Of course the scenario is not (or at least should not be) ambiguous in any moral or juridical way. As I've said before it of course is a rape, this is a fact and it is entirely independent from any circumstances. I know this and I am also aware of the fact, that the majority of (reported) rapes are not stranger- but acquaintance-rapes.

    Nevertheless it is ambiguous in the way people perceive and judge the rape. There has been research on what people perceive as a "real rape" ("evil, smelly, stranger leaps from behind the bushes and violently subdues innocent, angelic virgin") and it has also been shown, that in an acquaintance- (compared to a stranger-) rape-scenario more responsibility is attributed to the victim and the rape itself is perceived as less severe (moderated by constructs as "rape myths acceptance"). You and me being aware of the fact that this perception is just false does not mean it does not occur.


    I'm not sure when exactly you decided to keep me for a complete fool but I can assure you that I've not made up this study without reading literature on rape and especially the perception of sexual violence in general. Anyway, thank you for those literature-recommendations.
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    No I don't take you for a fool. It's just that this is an area full of pitfalls for absolutely everyone.

    Good luck with your work. One recommendation I would make would be to be very careful about who reviews the various drafts of your paper as you progress.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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    Oh, it definitely is full of pitfalls, you're right.

    Thank you for your comments and recommendations, it's not like I would not appreciate them.
    Last edited by appleyard; July 26th, 2012 at 09:31 AM.
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  20. #19  
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    I might consider adding some cultural background questions because you might find them more important than the psychological profile questions you included. If not, it's at least a consideration when writing up your results. For example, in the middle East just touching an unmarried women, or another unless specifically invited or on more than the hand would be considered as bad as the worst rape and unforgivable by god.
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    You mean the cultural background of the participants (which I at least partly, but definitely not sufficiently conducted by asking for their home country) or the cultural background of the rape case (I assume you're talking about the first option)? Anyway it's a good point that might be considered in future research. Thanks.
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    You mean the cultural background of the participants
    Yes.
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  23. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    I started taking the survey then got bored and quit when you started asking questions unrelated to the rape scenario.

    Sometimes when I take a survey like this, I start to think maybe the survey is not about the stated subject, but is really testing something else. Like how long can we get this person to sit there answering irrelevant questions.

    I think the goal of the "do you like thinking?" questions is to see how strongly rapist tendencies correlate with high or low IQ. If they find that people who "don't like to think very hard" are more likely to sympathize with the rapist (or that it's the other way around), that would be very useful information. If they find a zero correlation, that would also be informative.
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    I've just finished it. Too many questions.
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    too long...and boring.
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