The main focus of the researcher’s study was to examine the lived experiences of intimate partners of female rape victims within the first six months post rape. Yet, many publications describing longitudinal qualitative studies of sexual assault fail to provide a detailed report on the processes followed, the difficulties experienced, as well as the reasons for such difficulties. To fill theses gaps, in this paper, the researcher describes the strategies applied to recruit and retain the participants for the entire six-month period post rape. The lessons learned during recruitment and data collection are also described. The research question that guided the study was: what are the lived experiences of intimate partners of female rape victims during the six months following the rape? The selection of study participants involved purposeful sampling. After providing their informed consent, nine intimate partners of female rape victims living in Cape Town, South Africa, participated in four separate face-to-face, semi-structured interviews as follows: (a) within 14 days of, (b) a month after, (c) three months after and (d) six months after the rape. Recommendations were made for future researchers to make them aware of the difficulties encountered in accessing, recruiting, and retaining vulnerable populations in longitudinal studies, especially in the field of research into sexual violence.


Recruitment and Retention, Vulnerable Populations, Longitudinal Study, Qualitative Research, Phenomenological Study, Sexual Violence Research, Male Intimate Partners, Lessons Learned


Acknowledgements: The study was funded by The African Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowships Program and The Margaret McNamara Research Foundation.

Conflict of Interest: The editor-in-chief has reviewed the conflict of interest checklist provided by the author and has determined that the author has no financial or any other kind of personal conflicts with this paper.

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