Sexual violence against women: Still a controversial issue for victimology?

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The purpose of this article is to offer a critical analysis of the strengths and limitations embedded within the victimological embrace of the criminal victimization survey as a mode of measuring the nature and extent of sexual violence against women. Over the last 25 years great strides have been made in recognizing sexual violence as a problem that has global dimensions. Such recognition notwithstanding, concerns remain about who, what and under what conditions such violence is included in this recognition. This article deploys Latour's (1987) concept of the 'black box' to examine what is measured, how it is measured, and who is included and excluded in the measurement of sexual violence as articulated by the criminal victimization survey method. In unravelling these questions it becomes evident that what is to be done about sexual violence, and whose knowledge counts in relation to what is to be done, remain problematic issues for the victimological engagement with this agenda.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-84
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Review of Victimology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Black box
  • counting
  • positivist victimology
  • sexual violence

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