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"What Has it Been Like for You to Talk With Me Today?": The Impact of Participating in Interview Research on Rape Survivors

NCJ Number
Violence Against Women Volume: 16 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2010 Pages: 60-83
Date Published
January 2010
24 pages

This qualitative study examined how participating in in-depth interviews affected rape survivors.


The interviews - which involved both open-ended and closed-ended questions and free responses - were positively received by the overwhelming majority of the rape survivors. They experienced the interview as helpful, supportive, and insightful. Additional analyses revealed that the feminist interviewing principles were noticed and appreciated by the participants and contributed to their overall positive outcomes. In feminist interviewing, researchers make a concerted effort to reduce the hierarchy of the interviewer-interviewee relationship by engaging in mutual dialog and disclosure (Acker, Barry, and Esseveld, 1983). Oakley (1988) encouraged feminist researchers to give more control to their participants, which is particularly important for trauma survivors, because reinstating control is fundamental to the recovery process. In feminist interviewing, interviewers make the point of saying to the confused, tentative, or unsure interviewee: "You're not alone, this happens to others, I've heard this before." In order to obtain a sample of adult rape survivors, the recruitment protocol for this study was modeled after the techniques of adaptive sampling. In the selected zip codes in Chicago, there were women of varying races and socioeconomic statuses. In each zip code, requests for participation in the interviewing were made through posters, fliers, and in-person presentations to groups of women. Completed interviews were conducted with 102 participants who met the following criteria: 18 years old and assaulted by a stranger, acquaintance, dating partner, or husband). Interviews were conducted at a location of the participant's choosing and lasted an average of 2.27 hours. 4 notes and 50 references

Date Published: January 1, 2010