Reading, understanding, and evaluating research: Glossary of terms by The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (March 2012): This glossary is presented to assist advocates in understanding commonly used terms when reading, understanding and evaluating research. This glossary drew from several sources, which are listed at the end of this document. These resources can be helpful to advocates who wish to learn more about understanding and evaluating research.
*Abusive Sexual Contact: Intentional touching, either directly or through the clothing, of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks of any person without his or her consent, or of a person who is unable to consent or refuse.
*Acquaintance: Someone who is known to the victim but is not related to the victim by blood or marriage, and is not a current or former spouse, a current or former intimate partner, another family member, or a person in a position of power or trust. Examples are a co-worker, neighbor, date, former date, or roommate (not an exhaustive list).
Acquaintance rape: An umbrella term used to describe sexual assaults in which the survivor and the perpetrator are known to each other.
Capacity:** The ability, skills, and motivations to conduct and sustain prevention work at the individual, organizational, and systems level.
- General Capacity – a capacity to implement or improve any programmatic strategy or activity
- Innovation Specific Capacity – a capacity needed to plan, implement, evaluate and sustain primary prevention strategies.
Child Maltreatment: Any act or series of acts of commission or omission [that results in harm, potential for harm, or threat of harm to a child. Physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, and neglect are specific forms of child maltreatment (Leeb, Paulozzi, Melanson, Simon & Arias, 2008).
*Consent: Words or overt actions by a person who is legally or functionally competent to give informed approval, indicating a freely given agreement to have sexual intercourse or sexual contact.
- Inability to consent: A freely given agreement to have intercourse or sexual contact could not occur because of age, illness, disability, being asleep, or the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
- Inability to refuse: Disagreement to have sexual intercourse or sexual contact was precluded because of the use or possession of guns or other non-bodily weapons, or due to physical violence, threats of physical violence, real or perceived coercion, intimidation or pressure, or misuse of authority.
Cultural Competence: A developmental process that results in individual, community, and organizational understanding of cultural differences and similarities within, among, and between communities, cultures, and populations. This competence requires drawing on the community-based values, traditions, and customs to work with knowledgeable persons of, and from, specific populations in developing specific strategies and communications to address their needs (Cross et al.,1989; National Center for Cultural Competence, n.d.; Pyles & Kim, 2006).
Date rape: A specific kind of acquaintance rape, referring to assaults perpetrated against a person with whom the perpetrator has a romantic interest over the course of a “date”.
*Dissemination: The intentional, targeted spreading of an innovation from the originators to the intended users that result in a targeted and facilitated process of distributing information and materials to organizations and individuals who want and can use them to improve health.
*Effectiveness: The positive outcomes of a strategy, program, or policy derived under optimal or ideal conditions of delivery, such as having adequate resources, well-trained and supervised personnel, and control over factors affecting implementation (Flay et al., 2005)
*Efficacy: The positive outcomes of a strategy, program, or policy derived under optimal or ideal conditions of delivery, such as having adequate resources, well-trained and supervised personnel, and control over factors affecting implementation (Flay et al., 2005)
*Empowerment evaluation: An evaluation approach that provides program stakeholders with tools for program planning, implementation, and self-evaluation and integration of evaluation into the planning and management of the program or organization for the purpose of increasing the likelihood that programs will achieve their intended outcomes (Wandersman et al., 2005).
*Evaluation: The systematic collection of information about the activities, characteristics, and outcomes of strategies (i.e., programs) to make judgments about the strategy, improve strategy effectiveness, and/or inform decisions about future strategy development (U.S. DHHS, 2005).
Femininity: The qualities that a society believes to be characteristic of females.
Gender: Referring to biological sex differences, as in male and female.
** Specific glossary on gender and transgender terms available through Fenway Health
Gender-based Violence: Violence involving men and women, in which the female is usually the victim; and which is derived from unequal power relationships between men and women. Violence is directed specifically against a woman because she is a woman, or affects women disproportionately. It includes, but is not limited to, physical, sexual and psychological harm (including intimidation, suffering, coercion, and/or deprivation of liberty within the family, or within the general community). It includes that violence which is perpetrated or condoned by the state. This widely accepted definition of gender-based violence is now often expanded to include violence that results from unequal power relations between men and between women (e.g. homophobic violence).
Gender Binary: The social rules that state one must be a boy or a girl; a man or a woman, and within those roles, one must embrace the gender, i.e., a man must be masculine and a woman must be feminine. Gender binary enforces the repressive concept that there are only two genders and that cross-over (gender-bending) is morally wrong or unacceptable in society.
Gender Equality: Equal treatment of women and men in laws and policies, and equal access to resources and services within families, communities and society at large.
Gender Equity: Fairness and justice in the distribution of benefits and responsibilities between women and men. Programs and policies that specifically empower women are often needed to achieve this.
Implementation: A purposeful set of specific activities that result in individual or organizational use of an innovation.
*Incident:** A single act or series of acts of sexual violence that are perceived to be connected to one another and that may persist over a period of minutes, hours, or days. One perpetrator or multiple perpetrators may commit an incident.
- Examples of an incident include a husband forcing his wife to have unwanted sexual acts but only one time, a stranger attacking and sexually assaulting a woman after breaking into her apartment, a man kidnapping a female acquaintance and repeatedly assaulting her over a weekend before she is freed, etc.
Individual evaluation capacity: The extent to which individuals have the knowledge, skills, resources, and motivation to plan, conduct, analyze, and use evaluation.
Innovation: New prevention knowledge or information – product, practice, program, policy, idea, research, findings, or results.
*Intimate Partner: Current legal spouses, current common-law spouses, current boyfriends/girlfriends (opposite or same sex), former legal spouses, former common-law spouses, separated spouses, or former boyfriends/girlfriends (opposite or same sex). Intimate partners may or may not be cohabiting. Intimate partners may or may not have an existing sexual relationship. If the victim and the perpetrator have a child in common but no current relationship, then by definition they fit into the category of former legal spouse, former common-law spouse, or former boyfriend/girlfriend. States differ as to what constitutes a common-law marriage.
Intimate Partner Violence (IPV): Physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former intimate partner. IPV can occur among heterosexual or same-sex couples and does not require sexual intimacy. The four categories of IPV are physical violence, sexual violence, threat of physical or sexual violence, and psychological/emotional abuse (including coercive tactics) (Saltzman, Fanslow, McMahon & Shelley, 1999).
Marital rape: Rape perpetrated by one spouse against another.
Masculine violence: Term used instead of the term male violence in order to emphasize that the behavior is learned and socially conditioned rather than the biological result of male gender.
Masculinity: The qualities that a society believes to be characteristic of males.
Misogynist: Describing one who hates women.
*Non-contact Sexual Abuse: Sexual abuse that does not include physical contact of a sexual nature between a perpetrator and the victim. It includes acts such as voyeurism; intentional exposure of an individual to exhibitionism; unwanted exposure to pornography; verbal or behavioral sexual harassment; threats of sexual violence to accomplish some other end; or taking nude photographs of a sexual nature of another person without his or her consent or knowledge, or of a person who is unable to consent or refuse.
Objectification of women: The treating of women as not human, without feelings, as objects.
Oppression: The unjust, cruel use of power or authority by those in power to keep other groups of people from sharing power equally.
Organization: A coalition, partnership, local or state government agency, or nonprofit agency and its respective stakeholders.
Organizational evaluation capacity: The extent to which a given organization has the structures, resources, processes, and motivation to plan, conduct, analyze, and use evaluation (Gibbs, Napp, Jolly, Westover & Uhl, 2002; Torres & Preskill, 2001).
Outcome evaluation: The systematic collection of information to assess the impact of a strategy or program, present conclusions about its merit or worth, and make recommendations about future strategy or program direction or improvement (U.S. DHHS, 2005).
Patriarchy: A socioeconomic system whereby property or inheritance is passed down through the male line. Often used to describe any system of male domination and sometimes used interchangeably with sexism.
Participatory evaluation: Evaluation that involves collaborative work with the individuals, groups, or communities who have a decided stake in the program development (Cousins & Whitmore, 1998).
*Perpetrator: Person who inflicts the sexual violence.
Primary Prevention: Approaches that aim to prevent violence before it occurs (Dahlberg & Krug, 2002).
Process evaluation: The systematic collection of information to document and assess how a particular program or strategy was implemented and operated (U.S. DHHS, 2005)
Program: The combination of several strategies designed to deliver reinforcing messages to one intended population in a variety of settings (Powell , Dahlberg, Friday, Mercy, Thornton, & Crawford, 1996).
Protective factor: An attribute, situation, condition, or environmental context that buffers or moderates the effect of risk (US DHHS, 2001).
Racism: A system of domination against people of color.
Risk factor: An attribute, situation, condition‚ or environmental context that increases the chances of a person behaving violently or experiencing violence (U.S. DHHS, 2001).
*Sex Act (or Sexual Act): Contact between the penis and the vulva or the penis and the anus, involving penetration, however slight, contact between the mouth and the penis, vulva, or anus; or penetration of the anal or genital opening of another person by a hand, finger, or other object.
Sexuality: the state or quality of being sexual.
*Sexual Violence:** Nonconsensual completed or attempted contact between the penis and the vulva or the penis and the anus involving penetration, however slight; non consensual contact between the mouth and the penis, vulva, or anus; nonconsensual penetration of the anal or genital opening of another person by a hand, finger, or other object; nonconsensual intentional touching, either directly or through the clothing, of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks; or nonconsensual non-contact acts of a sexual nature such as voyeurism and verbal or behavioral sexual harassment. All the above acts also qualify as sexual violence if they are committed against someone who is unable to consent or to refuse.
Sexual violence is divided into four types and five classification categories:
- A completed sex act without the victim’s consent, or involving a victim who is unable to consent or refuse.
- An attempted sex act without the victim’s consent, or involving a victim who is unable to consent or to refuse.
- Abusive sexual contact.
- Non-contact sexual abuse.
- Sexual violence, type unspecified
- Inadequate information available to categorize into one of the other four categories.
Social ecological model: A multi-level model that suggests human behavior (e.g., violence) is the result of the complex interplay of individual, relationship, community, and societal factors (Dahlberg & Krug, 2002).
Stakeholders: The persons or organizations having an investment in what will be learned from an evaluation and what will be done with the knowledge (U.S. DHHS, 1999).
Strategy: A set of activities that, together, are intended to reduce violent behavior, such as social skills training, mentoring, social marketing, or policy changes (Powell et al., 1996). These multiple activities together are intended to achieve goals or results at a specific level of the social ecology. Also, an approach to address a problem such as the promotion of respectful relationships to reduce interpersonal violence.
Synthesis: A process for obtaining and summarizing scientifically derived information, including evidence of effectiveness (risk and protective factors, core elements, and key features, etc.)
*Translation: The process of converting scientific and technically complex research into everyday language and applicable/actionable concepts in the practice setting.
** Specific glossary on gender and transgender terms available through Fenway Health
*Victim: Person on whom the sexual violence is inflicted. Survivor is often used as a synonym for victim.
Violence Against Women: Any public or private act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in physical, sexual, or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion, or arbitrary deprivation of liberty.
*Youth Violence: The intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, exerted by or against children, adolescents, or young adults (ages 10-29) that results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation (Mercy, Butchart, Farrington & Cerda, 2002).
* From “Sexual Violence Surveillance: Uniform Definitions and Recommended Data Elements”, written by Kathleen C. Basile, Ph.D and Linda E. Saltzman, Ph.D, published by the CDC National Center for Injury Prevention and Control in 2009.
From “Applying Science. Advancing Practice. Understanding the Interactive Systems Framework for Dissemination and Implementation”, published by the CDC.
*From Evaluation for Improvement: A Seven-Step Empowerment Evaluation Approach For Violence Prevention Organizations from the Centers for Disease Control. File Not Found