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Sexual Victimization of College Women

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2000
48 pages
Publication Series
A survey conducted during February through May 1997 gathered information on female college students’ experiences of sexual victimization since school began in the fall of 1996 and compared findings with rape estimates taken from a sample of college women who completed a survey based on the National Crime Victimization Survey.
The National College Women Sexual Victimization (NCWSV) study funded by the National Institute of Justice gathered information through a telephone survey of a randomly selected national sample of 4,446 women who were attending a 2-year or 4-year college or university with at least 1,000 students during the fall of 1996. Results revealed that the incident rate per 1,000 female students ranged from a low of 9.5 to a high of 66.4 across the 10 types of victimization. Threats of sexual victimization happened less often than other forms of sexual victimization. Most victims knew the person who sexually victimized them. The majority of victimizations occurred in living quarters. Fewer than 5 percent of completed and attempted rapes were reported to police. Separate questions on stalking revealed that 13.1 percent of female students had been stalked since the school year began. Findings indicated that many students will encounter sexist and harassing comments, will receive an obscene phone call, and will have a good chance of being stalked or of enduring some form of coerced sexual contact. Findings also indicated that 2.8 percent of college women will experience a completed rape, an attempted rape, or both during any given academic year. Findings also suggested methodological implications for future research, as well as the need to consider how college women’s lives can be made safer and free from the costs imposed by the experience of sexual victimization. Tables, figures, and reference notes

Date Published: December 1, 2000