CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Stricot on Factors Behind Sexual Violence Reporting

Maëlle Stricot has posted Understanding the factors behind the (under-)reporting of sexual violence: Evidence from France on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Using data from the French victimisation survey, this paper explores the determinants of reporting sexual violence to the police. My contribution to the economics of crime and economics of social norms literature is threefold. First, using binary regression models, I show that assault characteristics have higher explanatory power than victim's socio-demographic characteristics on this high-stakes individual decision. This descriptive analysis also highlights the significant influence of victims' social stigmatisation on the decision to file a complaint. Second, I employ a difference-in-difference strategy comparing the reporting rate for sexual and physical violence to analyse the effect of two high-profile sexual assault cases that pictured different representations of victims and the reporting process. On average, I find a 158% drop in sexual violence reporting following the allegations against Dominique Strauss-Kahn in May 2011, compared to a 111% increase after the ones against Harvey Weinstein in October 2017. Third, I provide evidence that changes in opinions and representations about sexual violence seem to be the primary mechanism explaining the increase in sexual violence reporting after the Weinstein case and #MeToo. These results suggest that social norms and representations surrounding sexual violence firmly influence the victim's reporting decision.

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