The hidden rape victim: Personality, attitudinal, and situational characteristics

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379 Scopus citations


A hidden rape victim is one who has never reported her experience to a rape crisis center or to police. It has been estimated that only 10–50% of the rapes that actually occur are ever reported to authorities. Since most previous rape studies have selected samples from official sources, hidden victims have been overlooked. The goals of the present study were to describe the victimization experienced by hidden victims and to determine whether any psychological variables were related to victimization status. The psychological variables examined included personality, attitudinal, and situational characteristics relevant to the three major models of rape victimization: social control, victim precipitation, and situational blame. Subjects were 82 not sexually victimized, 37 low sexually victimized, 50 moderately victimized, and 62 highly sexually victimized women. Subjects completed questionnaires and participated in a one-to-one standardized interview. Data were analyzed via multivariate analysis of variance. Personality variables and attitudes did not differentiate the groups of women, while numerous situational variables did. The theoretical implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-212
Number of pages20
JournalPsychology of Women Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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