Lorelei Black (secret_x_stars) wrote,
Lorelei Black

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The Mary Koss Survey -- I Read It So You Don't Have To!

godfuckingdamnit, i'm experiencing 'battle fatigue' regarding anti-rape activism.

let's have a little chat about the Mary Koss survey, which I have read myself.


Q: What is the Mary Koss survey?

A: The Scope of Rape: Incidence and Prevalence of Sexual Aggression and Victimization in a National Sample of Higher Education Students was written in 1987 by Mary P. Koss, Christine A Gidycz, and Nadine Wisniewski. It was published in Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology*, and was picked up by Ms magazine.

Q: How many people participated in this survey?

A: In the end, 6,159 college students from a diverse sampling of institutions were surveyed, 3,187 of them being women and 2,972 men.

Q: So tell me about the structure and format of this survey.

A: The survey itself was titled 'National Survey of Inter-Gender Relationships' so that it would be neutral and not be pre-judged. It was handed out without professors present and participation was completely anonymous and optional.

Part of the survey was a 10-item Sexual Experiences Survey (self-report), which was used to obtain information on the incidence and prevalence of sexual aggression. The wording of the questions were different for men and women.
Example for women: 'Have you ever had sexual intercourse when you didn't want to because a man used some degree of physical force (twisting your arm, holding you down, etc) to make you?'
Example for men: 'Have you ever engaged in sexual intercourse when the woman didn't want to because you used some degree of physical force (twisting her arm, holding her down, etc) to make her?'

Q: How was it determined whether a woman was raped?

A: Answers to certain questions were used to define whether a woman was a victim of rape, attempted rape, sexual coercion (misuse of authority or menacing verbal pressure), or sexual contact (non-penetrating fondling or kissing subsequent to menacing verbal pressure, threats of harm, misuse or authority, or physical force) in the bounds of the legal definition for the state of Ohio, which is similar for most other states.

To note, this is the text of the legal definition of rape in Ohio as of 1980: "vaginal intercourse between male and female, and anal intercourse, fellatio, and cunnilingus between persons regardless of sex. Penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete vaginal or anal intercourse. . . No person shall engage in sexual conduct with another person. . .when any of the following apply: (1) the offender purposely compels the other person to submit by force or threat offeree, (2) for the purpose of preventing resistance the offender substantially impairs the other person's judgment or control by administering any drug or intoxicant to the other person."

Q: What were the results and how were they measured/scored?

A: Because some women experienced many forms of sexual aggression, respondants were classified by their highest level of victimization, as to not give an inflated statistic. As stated earlier, yes responses to certain questions signified whatever level of sexual aggression the woman had experienced.

The results were (again, these women were categorized by most severe level of sexual aggression):

No sexual victimization: 46.3%
Some form of sexual victimization: 53.7%

Sexual contact: 14.4%
Sexual coercion: 11.9%
Attempted rape: 12.1%
Rape: 15.4%

Q: So what the hell is this 1 in 4 thing about?

A: 1 in 4 is the combined statistic of rape and attempted rape (roughly 27.5%), however it is sometimes misquoted as 1 in 4 women are victims of completed rape. That would be about 1 in 8.

Q: Oh, yeah, what happened to the men?

A: The results of their survey were (also categorized by highest level of victimization perpetrated)...

Sexual victmization not perpetrated: 74.8%
Sexual victimization perpetrated: 25.1%

Sexual contact: 10.2%
Sexual coercion: 7.2%
Attempted rape: 3.3%
Rape: 4.4%

Q: Which means what?

A: If we relate it to be whole 1 in 4 college-aged women are victims of attempted or completed rape, it would mean that about 1 in 12 college-aged men are perpetrators of rape or attempted rape. If related to 1 in 8 college-aged women are victims of completed rape, it means that 1 in 25 college aged men are perpetrators of completed rape.

That's all I've got for now. If there are any other questions or corrections anyone would like to contribute, comment below... however, all comments are screened for now.

* : Can someone tell me if Journal for Consulting and Clinical Psychology is peer reviewed? I would assume it is, but I didn't want to say so if it wasn't and I can't figure it out definitively. Thanks.
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