Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Eighteen Percent Of Young Women Experience Sexual Victimization

Date:
March 13, 2007
Source:
University at Buffalo
Summary:
Sexual victimization can mean several things -- verbal coercion to have sex with an intimate partner, rape by a stranger, a woman fondled in a bar or forced intercourse when a woman is too intoxicated to consent or object. Researchers at the University at Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions report that 18 percent of young women recruited into a study experienced sexual victimization in a two-year period.

Sexual victimization can mean several things -- verbal coercion to have sex with an intimate partner, rape by a stranger, a woman fondled in a bar or forced intercourse when a woman is too intoxicated to consent or object.

Researchers at the University at Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions report that 18 percent of young women recruited into a study experienced sexual victimization in a two-year period. Victimization was defined as unwanted sexual contact, verbally coerced sex, rape or attempted rape. Among this group, the majority (approximately 66 percent) stated that their victimization was perpetrated by an intimate partner.

Importantly, it was found that sexual victimization of women by intimate partners and non-intimate partners are two completely separate phenomena. Two different sets of risk factors exist for victimization by two different types of perpetrators.

"Because risk factors or predictors for the two different types of sexual victimization differ, considering them separately allowed us to see who is vulnerable to which type of experience," stated Maria Testa, Ph.D., lead investigator on the study and RIA senior research scientist. "It also has suggested the need for tailoring prevention strategies to each type of experience."

The research results were published in the February 2007 issue of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

Testa and colleagues investigated whether women's substance use, sexual activity and lack of assertiveness in refusing sexual advances might contribute to sexual victimization by both intimate partners and non-intimate partners.

For purposes of this study, an intimate partner was defined as a boyfriend/dating partner, husband, ex-boyfriend or ex-husband. All other perpetrators were classified as non-intimates and included acquaintances and friends, and more rarely, relatives, groups and strangers.

Initially through in-person interviews at the institute and subsequently through questionnaires mailed to their homes, 927 women averaging 24 years of age at the beginning of the study reported their experiences of sexual victimization at three time points. The sample of women ages 18-30 was representative of Buffalo and Erie County with 75 percent of the women identifying themselves as Caucasian, 17 percent as African American and small percentages as Hispanic, Asian, and Native American. Average income was $35,000 and 40 percent of the women were enrolled in college. Most were unmarried and employed either full- or part-time.

The factors that predicted victimization from intimates were different than the factors that predicted victimization from non-intimates. Predictors of intimate partner victimization included being married or living together, prior intimate partner victimization and difficulty refusing a partner's request for sex. Thus, women who experience this type of sexual victimization are at risk of experiencing it multiple times, by virtue of remaining in relationships with sexually aggressive men.

A predictor of victimization by a non-intimate perpetrator was binge drinking. "One explanation for this may be that a perpetrator who is not intimately acquainted with a victim is more likely to take advantage of a woman's intoxication as a way to facilitate having sex with her," according to Testa. "Women who are heavy drinkers or binge drinkers typically drink outside the home and in the presence of others who are drinking, reflecting a lifestyle that poses greater risk from men they don't know."

Another predictor of victimization by a non-intimate perpetrator was engaging in sex with a greater number of sexual partners. This behavior also increased risk for subsequent sexual victimization due to exposure to a greater number of potential perpetrators.

Testa suggests that prevention strategies to reduce sexual victimization by non-intimate partners should be designed to reduce heavy episodic drinking, as well as the number of sexual partnerships, especially in populations such as female college students. Different strategies are necessary to prevent sexual victimization from intimate partners and might include assertiveness training for women about how to effectively refuse sexual advances and discouraging young women from entering or remaining in coercive relationships.

Co-authors on the report included Carol VanZile-Tamsen, Ph.D., formerly of RIA and currently a research analyst with UB's Office of Institutional Analysis, and Jennifer A. Livingston, Ph.D., RIA research scientist.

This research was supported with grants from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the Office of Research on Women's Health.

The Research Institute on Addictions has been a leader in the study of addictions since 1970 and a research center of the University at Buffalo since 1999.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, the largest and most comprehensive campus in the State University of New York.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University at Buffalo. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University at Buffalo. "Eighteen Percent Of Young Women Experience Sexual Victimization." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 March 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070312231732.htm>.
University at Buffalo. (2007, March 13). Eighteen Percent Of Young Women Experience Sexual Victimization. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070312231732.htm
University at Buffalo. "Eighteen Percent Of Young Women Experience Sexual Victimization." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070312231732.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Researchers say women who diet at a young age are at greater risk of developing harmful health habits, including eating disorders and alcohol abuse. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins