The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of behavioural specificity on survey participants’ disclosure of sexual victimisation. It was hypothesised that multiple behaviourally specific items (MBSI) would result in higher prevalence rates than a single item about sexual victimisation. In addition, it was explored whether the likelihood of identifying as a victim in response to a single item, among people who identified as a victim in response to MBSI, depended on demographic variables and perpetrator characteristics. Data from the Dutch periodical sexual-health population survey were used. The sample included 3,927 men and 4,137 women aged 15–70 years (M=42.2 years, SD=15.2). Results showed that MBSI yielded higher prevalence rates than the single item. Moreover, gender and a number of other variables were related to the effect of behavioural specificity on the disclosure of victimisation. Female victims were more likely than male victims to report victimisation in response to a single item. The implications of these findings are discussed.
Studies among transgender people show an increased risk of sexual victimisation. We designed a survey to gain more insight into the characteristics of sexual victimisation of transgender people in the Netherlands which shows that 30 per cent reported that they had experienced at least one type of sexual violence during their life course. Most respondents (87.0 per cent) were not (yet) in transition at the time they experienced sexual violence. Victimisation often took place between the ages of 16 and 25 and was significantly related to childhood gender nonconformity. Our additional qualitative study indicates that the victimisation of transgender people is also connected to other risk factors, such as vulnerability deriving from gender dysphoria, minority stress, social isolation and exclusion. The narratives of transgender victims show how sexual victimisation deeply affects their wellbeing. Gender dysphoria and sexual victimisation interact, which complicates the lives of transgender people. Transgender victims need support by professionals who are sensitive to both experiences of gender dysphoria and sexual victimisation and the way these experiences interrelate. However, the victimisation of transgender people also highlights the need for a broadening of the scope of policies and research on gender based violence, and move beyond the gender binary of women and men.