Measuring Sexual Violence Against Gender Minority Populations: A Systematic Review Open Access

DeMil, Savannah (Spring 2021)

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Background: Gender minority individuals, or those who have a gender identity that differs from their sex assigned at birth, experience higher rates of sexual violence than their cisgender counterparts. However, surveys and other research tools are often not designed using language that is inclusive of gender minority experiences. There is a need for improved measurement tools to obtain more accurate data for these populations.

Objective: The objectives of this systematic review are to describe the range of current methodological approaches and challenges when measuring sexual violence against gender minority populations, and to identify best practice recommendations for measuring and researching gender minority populations.

Design: Systematic review

Methods: Articles were identified through systematic keyword searches of JAMA, JSTOR, PudMed, Taylor & Francis Online, and Wiley for articles published between 2000 – 2021. Titles and abstracts were screened and articles for potential inclusion underwent full-text review. Inclusion criteria included articles published in English; between 2000-2021; pertains to sexual violence research (or “campus climate”) AND/OR provides best practices for researching gender minority populations; and includes gender minority populations AND/OR discusses SGM-inclusive language. Relevant articles were then analyzed for methodological quality and key themes.

Results: A total of 1,404 articles were identified, and 424 duplicates were removed. After screening the remaining 980 articles, ­­­11 articles were included in this review. This review identified five key themes for researchers when designing surveys of sexual violence for gender minority populations: (1) survey/question validity for gender minority populations, (2) a two-step approach to measure gender, (3) gender-neutral language; (4) measurement tool development and pilot testing, and (5) involvement of gender minority individuals in research.

Conclusions: Sexual violence is a significant public health problem that disproportionately affects gender minority populations. It is evident that there is a need for better survey measures for researching sexual violence in gender minority populations to better capture their experiences and produce more accurate statistics. As the body of evidence on this topic grows, additional systematic reviews and qualitative research with gender minority individuals can expand on these conclusions and help further inform recommendations for research in this area.

Table of Contents



ACRONYM LIST                 3

INTRODUCTION              4

BACKGROUND                   5

OBJECTIVE                         12

METHODS                          12

RESULTS                             14

DISCUSSION                      33

CONCLUSION                    36

REFERENCES                     38

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