Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
First Advisor or Mentor
In the United States (U.S.), 20% of women have experienced completed or attempted rape and 43.6% of women have experienced some form of contact sexual violence. Many instances of sexual violence go unreported to law enforcement – only 34% are reported to the police. Reporting can lead to more favorable outcomes for survivors since it is likely to increase access to medical care and mental health services and is an important step in order to hold perpetrators accountable, prevent future victims, and reduce the likelihood of longer psychological distress for the survivor. Delays in reporting are more prevalent in cases where there was a relationship to the perpetrator. This study examined whether common barriers to reporting sexual violence identified in the literature were related to delays in reporting to law enforcement among adult women. Using archival data on sexual violence reported to law enforcement, this study examined the association between victim-suspect relationship, verbal threats, drug-facilitated sexual assault, and time to reporting the sexual violence incident to law enforcement. Out of 414 unique cases, 85.5% (n = 354) involved a known perpetrator, and on average survivors in 39.83% (n = 141) of known perpetrator cases had delayed reporting as compared to 15% (n = 9) of stranger perpetrator cases. These findings will be discussed as they pertain to improving efforts related to education and resources, law enforcement policies and procedures, provision of services, and community engagement strategies.
Tavarez, Lahiz P., "Waiting to Tell: Factors Associated with Delays in Reporting Sexual Violence" (2021). CUNY Academic Works.