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Extent and Nature of the Sexual Victimization of College Women: A National-Level Analysis

NCJ Number
Date Published
323 pages
Building on existing studies, the goal of the current study was to demarcate more clearly than in previous similar studies the dimensions and nature of the sexual victimization of college women.
The study used a nationally representative sample of college women, assessed a range of potential sexual victimizations, measured sexual victimization by using specifically worded questions, acquired detailed information about each victimization incident, and examined how the risk of being victimized was affected by a range of variables. The latter variables included demographic characteristics, lifestyles or routine activities, and characteristics of the college or university a student attended. Among the study's findings are that during the 6-month reference period, 1.7 percent of the college women sampled reported that they had experienced a completed rape; the corresponding figure for attempted rape was 1.1 percent. Across the 12 types of sexual victimization, 15.5 percent of the women experienced at least one victimization. When analyzed by the presence or absence of force, almost 8 percent of the sample had been sexually victimized in an incident that involved force or the threat of force, and 11 percent were subjected to an unwanted sexual victimization that did not involve the use of force or threat of force. A total of 13.1 percent of the respondents indicated that they had been stalked; the average stalking incident lasted 60 days. Most victims knew the person who sexually victimized them. Most often, women were sexually victimized by a boyfriend/ex-boyfriend, classmate, friend, acquaintance, or coworker. Four factors were statistically significant across the various types of sexual victimization: frequently drinking enough alcohol to get drunk; being unmarried; having been a victim of a sexual assault before the current school year began; and for on-campus victimization, living on campus. 53 tables, 121 references, and appended supplementary data

Date Published: January 1, 1999