Research Note: Parallel Reactions in Rape Victims and Rape Researchers

By Alexander, Janet G.; Chesnay, Mary de et al. | Violence and Victims, January 1, 1989 | Go to article overview

Research Note: Parallel Reactions in Rape Victims and Rape Researchers


Alexander, Janet G., Chesnay, Mary de, Marshall, Elaine, Campbell, Arthur Ree, Johnson, Sharon, Wright, Rebecca, Violence and Victims


In a recent study, several nurse researchers assisted in a case record review on 1,215 rape crisis center records to determine demographic predicators of sexual abuse. Despite the relatively impersonal nature of the method used in collection of data, researchers experienced highly subjective responses to the often sketchy case records both during and after the study. Some of the reactions reported by data collectors included: anger, dreams, fear of physical injury, and sleep disorders. These responses closely parallel those reported in the literature on rape victims. This research note (1) describes the reactions of the five different data collectors, (2) compares these reactions to those reported for rape victims, (3) suggests some implications for those engaged in research on potentially distressing topics, and (4) offers suggestions on how to best prepare data collectors and others for research in emotionally charged areas.

INTRODUCTION

Rape can be viewed as an invasion of the body by force, a violation of emotional, physical, and rational integrity, and/or a degrading and hostile act of violence intended to humiliate the victim (Brownmiller, 1975). The victims of rape are women, children, and men of all ages, races, marital status, and occupations (Moore, 1984). Many studies have dealt with the aftereffects of rape on the victim. Documentation from numerous fields of study indicates that most rape victims experience psychological, psychiatric, and behavioral reactions following a rape (e.g., Burgess, 1974; Katz & Mazur, 1979; McCahill, Meyer, & Fischman, 1981).

REACTIONS OF RAPE VICTIMS

Burgess and Holmstrom (1974) describe a rape trauma syndrome, which includes physical, emotional, and behavioral stress reactions that result from the person being forced into a life-threatening situation.

Short-term, the victim may exhibit generalized fear, restlessness, crying spells, and anger (Burgess & Holmstrom, 1973). Gelinas (1983) reports that victims often feel anxious, and powerless. Some victims subsequently exhibit fear of strangers, of unlighted areas, of being alone, and a feeling of being helpless or vulnerable (Ellis, Calhoun, & Atkeson, 1980). Several studies also note that victims report sleeping and eating disorders, fear of physical injury, fear of being at home, somatic problems, insomnia, and nightmares (Burgess & Holmstrom, 1974; Katz & Mazur, 1979). Long-term reactions include increased cautiousness, seeking out social support from family and friends, making self-devaluing judgments, and changing normal routines of living by moving, changing telephone numbers, or changing place of employment (Burgess & Holmstrom, 1974).

REACTIONS OF RAPE RESEARCHERS

In a recent study, several nurse researchers assisted in a case record review to determine demographic predictors of sexual abuse. Despite the relatively impersonal nature of the method used in data collection, researchers experienced highly subjective responses to the often sketchy case records of women who contacted a rape crisis center after sexual assault (de Chesnay, Marshall, Johnson, Lapierre, & Turner, 1985). Data was collected by five different female nursing faculty members over a 3-month period. Each researcher reviewed and coded as many as she could in a 4-hour time frame weekly for the 3-month period. Three of the researchers collected data alone. The other two collected data at the same time. All the researchers were seasoned faculty and experienced with the problem of rape in a clinical context, but only the principal investigator (de Chesnay) had conducted research on sexual abuse. Each researcher had at least 10 years of experience in nursing.

Although the investigators had no direct contact with the victims or assailants, they described feelings generated by exposure to the recorded suffering of victims who were raped. During the data analysis period, the investigators met for the purpose of discussing their feelings and reactions to participating in the study. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Research Note: Parallel Reactions in Rape Victims and Rape Researchers
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.