Exploring the methods behind sexual violence estimates: The Composition and Findings from National and International Surveys
Bonnie S. Fisher and Heidi L. Scherer
This essay documents the innovations that have been made to improve measuring the scope and dimensions of sexual violence over the last four decades. How sexual violence has been defined and operationalized and methodological factors (e.g., context, two-stage measurement process, question wording, reference period, and mode of administration) are compared and contrasted for several national-level victimization data sources. This essay explores the development of a number of national and international surveys designed to estimate the scope and dimensions of different types of sexual violence. This essay also includes a cross-national examination of sexual violence rates focusing on both differences and similarities across countries, concluding with a discussion of unresolved measurement issues. It also provides thoughts on future directions in measuring sexual violence.