Presentation

Perceptions of university policies to prevent sexual assault among college students in the United States

Authors:
To read the file of this research, you can request a copy directly from the author.

No file available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the file of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the author.

ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Article
Full-text available
The College Date Rape Attitude Survey (CDRAS), a measure intended to assess attitudes related to risk for committing rape in adolescents and young adults, was examined to determine the principal component structure of rape-related attitudes in data collected on an undergraduate college sample. Results provide evidence that responses to the instrument are reliable with regard to internal consistency, and that the CDRAS measures four rape-related attitudes: Entitlement, Blame Shifting, Traditional Roles, and Overwhelming Sexual Arousal. The CDRAS could be used to elicit information about student's attitudes , which could then be used to develop, implement, and evaluate an intervention specific to the needs of that population.
Article
Full-text available
Objective: Sexual violence within the collegiate environment is a pressing issue within American society. One way to address sexual violence is through the adaptation and implementation of a sexual assault policy by colleges and universities. The purpose of this study is to review sexual misconduct and assault policies of ten public universities as well as federal policies in the US. This study contributes to increasing the knowledge of sexual assault policies on American campuses that would be helpful in the development of more effective prevention policies, increasing sexual assault reporting, and decreasing sexual assaults. Methods: The data included relevant legislation, and the university sexual assault and/or misconduct policies from ten selected public universities within the United States in Fall 2014. Results: The policies of the ten universities vary. Three of the universities do not have university policies that explicitly address sexual misconduct as assault. Sexual harassment policies tend to focus on the threat of violence, as opposed to perpetrated sexual violence itself. Conclusions: Further efforts in policy revisions need to be made so that more universities will not only implement sexual assault policies, but also implement more comprehensive policies. 1. Introduction Female college students have an extremely high risk of being sexually assaulted, it is estimated that one third of female college students are victims of sexual assault by their senior year of college (Finley & Corty, 1993). With such a high percentage of female college students being sexually assaulted, on campus sexual assault prevention programs are essential in lowering the number of sexual assaults (Karjane, Fisher, & Cullen, 2005). According to the Know Your Rights: Title IX Requires Your School to Address Sexual Violence (U.S. Department of Education, 2011), the Education Amendments of 1972 is the cornerstone piece of legislation in the fight to end sexual violence within institutions of higher education. The Education Amendments of 1972 have been an extremely important piece of legislation for American colleges and universities. Their importance in reference to sexual violence has stemmed specifically from their Title IX. Title IX was designed to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex within all institutions that receive federal financial aid. Title IX further calls for institutions that receive federal financial aid to implement educational programs and also to have policies in place to prevent and protect against sexual violence between and against their students. Because of Title IX, colleges and Universities must respond promptly to sexual violence, provide interim measures, provide students with access to support services, conduct a full investigation and further provide redress as necessary (US Department of Education, 2011). In early 2014 the White House Task force published their Not Alone report (White House Task Force, 2014), which explicitly holds colleges and universities accountable for needing to act to prevent sexual assault of their students, and to implement stronger policies for when students are assaulted. Despite development of federal legislation, sexual violence on college campuses is still greatly underreported (Armstrong, Hamilton, & Sweeney, 2006). One of the contributing factors to that may be that the vast majority of perpetrators are acquaintances, making it harder for the women who experience assault to report (Orchowski, Meyer & Gidycz, 2009). Another reason is that survivors of sexual assault may be unclear on where to report an assault to campus officials. Further, two of the top ranked fears for both male and female college students in regard to reporting are: the issues of confidentiality, and fear of not being believed (Sable, Danis, Mauzy & Gallagher, 2006). Women have often felt re-victimized and that they will not be believed oftentimes when investigators ask if alcohol or drugs was involved, or if they had a previous relationship with their perpetrator (Cohn, Zinzow, Resnick & Kilpatrick, 2012). Sexual assault is a significant health issue among female college students. Sexual assault survivors are more likely to report psychological disorders such as major Depressive Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and to drop out of school compared to students who had never been victims of sexual assault (Vladitiu, Martin & Macy, 2011). For these reasons, as well as for others, universities need to reevaluate their sexual assault and misconduct policies to ensure the safety and health of female students, and to ensure proper learning environments for all students. The purpose of this study is to review sexual misconduct and assault policies of ten public universities in the US. This study analyzed how the university policies comply with Title IX, as well
Article
Full-text available
Social workers responsible for developing rape prevention programs on college campuses must have valid evaluation instruments. This article presents the challenges encountered by the authors when they attempted to keep rape myth measures relevant to student by updating the language to reflect the subtleties involved with rape myths. The development of a modified version of the Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Scale is described. Focus groups were conducted to gather feedback about the language used by college students related to sexual encounters and rape. The instrument was then tested with 951 undergraduate students at a large northeastern university. Exploratory structural equation modeling was used to assess the factor structure of the scale. In addition, multiple-indicators multiple-causes modeling was used to assess the potential differential item functioning of the measure's items by gender, previous experience with sexual assault prevention programming, and knowing someone who was sexually assaulted. A four-factor structure was hypothesized and a five-factor supported, indicating a separate factor that looks at alcohol and accountability. for social workers are discussed, including the necessity of continuously updating rape myth measures to ensure validity.
Article
Full-text available
Rape awareness and prevention programs are common on college campuses and a potentially useful way to reach large numbers of young adults. One largely unexamined potential mediator or moderator of program effectiveness is the personal knowledge of student audiences. In this study, we assess the prevalence of knowing a victim and, notably, a perpetrator of sexual assault. A stratified random sample of 2,400 undergraduates was recruited for an online survey about sexual assault. A total of 53.5% participated and yielded a sample representative of the student body. Sixteen questions were modified from the Sexual Experiences Survey to assess whether participants knew a victim of any one of eight types of sexual assault. Over half (52.4%) reported that they know one or more men who perpetrated any of the types of sexual assault. Findings indicate that students begin college with considerable personal knowledge of sexual assault victimization and perpetration. Nearly two thirds (64.5%) reported that they know one or more women who were a victim and over half (52.4%) reported that they know one or more men who perpetrated one of the eight types of sexual assault. Most students reported knowing victims and perpetrators of multiple types of assault. Knowledge varied substantially by gender and ethnicity. Students' preexisting personal knowledge should be included in assessments of program effectiveness and, ideally, in program design.
Article
Full-text available
The College Date Rape Attitude Survey (CDRAS), a measure intended to assess attitudes related to risk for committing rape in adolescents and young adults, was examined to determine the principal component structure of rape-related attitudes in data collected on an undergraduate college sample. Results provide evidence that responses to the instrument are reliable with regard to internal consistency, and that the CDRAS measures four rape-related attitudes: Entitlement, Blame Shifting, Traditional Roles, and Overwhelming Sexual Arousal. The CDRAS could be used to elicit information about student's attitudes, which could then be used to develop, implement, and evaluate an intervention specific to the needs of that population.
Article
Full-text available
This article reviews research literature examining the effects of key factors that influence individual's attitudes towards victims of rape. The impact of rape myths, gender roles and substance use on attributions of blame in cases of rape are discussed. The phenomenon of victim-blaming within such cases is explored with reference to the attribution theory to help explain why rape victims are sometimes seen as deserving of their misfortune. Findings indicate that men demonstrate higher rape myth acceptance than women and attribute higher levels of blame to victims than women; women who violate traditional gender roles are attributed more blame than those women who do not; and women who consume alcohol prior to their attack are attributed higher levels of blame than those who are not intoxicated. The findings are discussed with reference to the implications for the Criminal Justice System and future interventions for both victims and perpetrators of rape. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Article
Full-text available
This study examined the antecedents for the acceptance of rape myths. The information motivation behavioral skills model was the basis for this study. In this cross-sectional study at a northeastern university, 237 students consented to participate in an online survey examining knowledge, social norms regarding sexual behavior, future time perspective, and rape myth acceptance (RMA). The majority of the sample was female. Forty-one percent believed that a woman who was raped while drunk was responsible. Men had higher RMA and the less sexual knowledge they had, the more they accepted the rape myths. Direction is provided regarding primary prevention of sexual assault.
Article
Full-text available
Using a cross-sectional survey of a random sample of 7,945 college undergraduates, we report on the association between having received Green Dot active bystander behavior training and the frequency of actual and observed self-reported active bystander behaviors as well as violence acceptance norms. Of 2,504 students aged 18 to 26 who completed the survey, 46% had heard a Green Dot speech on campus, and 14% had received active bystander training during the past 2 years. Trained students had significantly lower rape myth acceptance scores than did students with no training. Trained students also reported engaging in significantly more bystander behaviors and observing more self-reported active bystander behaviors when compared with nontrained students. When comparing self-reported active bystander behavior scores of students trained with students hearing a Green Dot speech alone, the training was associated with significantly higher active bystander behavior scores. Those receiving bystander training appeared to report more active bystander behaviors than those simply hearing a Green Dot speech, and both intervention groups reported more observed and active bystander behaviors than nonexposed students.
Article
Full-text available
Men and women living in randomly selected 1st-year dormitories participated in tailored single-sex sexual assault prevention or risk-reduction programs, respectively. An evaluation of the men's project is presented (N = 635). The program incorporated social norms and bystander intervention education and had an impact on self-reported sexual aggression and an effect on men's perceptions that their peers would intervene when they encountered inappropriate behavior in others. Relative to the control group, participants also reported less reinforcement for engaging in sexually aggressive behavior, reported fewer associations with sexually aggressive peers, and indicated less exposure to sexually explicit media.
Article
Full-text available
A randomized clinical trial was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the Navy Sexual Assault Intervention Training (SAIT) program for men. A four-group Solomon design was used to control for possible pretest sensitization effects. Male Navy personnel (N = 1,505) were assessed for rape knowledge, rape myth acceptance (two scales), and rape empathy after participating in the SAIT program or viewing an educational video about HIV/AIDS (comparison condition). The SAIT program was found to be effective in increasing rape knowledge, reducing rape myth acceptance, and increasing empathy for rape victims. As expected, men who had exhibited previous coercive sexual behavior, compared with those who had not, reported lower levels of knowledge, higher levels of rape myth acceptance, and less rape empathy. However, the SAIT program was generally effective in changing men's knowledge, beliefs, and feelings on the key measures, regardless of participants' histories of coercive sexual behavior.
Article
Full-text available
Research has shown associations between college women's alcohol and/or drug consumption and the risk of sexual assault, but few studies have measured the various means by which sexual assault is achieved. The authors' Campus Sexual Assault Study obtained self-report data from a random sample of undergraduate women (N = 5,446). The authors collected data on sexual assault victimization by using a cross-sectional, Web-based survey, and they conducted analyses assessing the role of substance use. The authors also compared victimizations before and during college, and across years of study. Findings indicate that almost 20% of undergraduate women experienced some type of completed sexual assault since entering college. Most sexual assaults occurred after women voluntarily consumed alcohol, whereas few occurred after women had been given a drug without their knowledge or consent. The authors discuss implications for campus sexual assault prevention programs, including the need for integrated substance use and sexual victimization prevention programming.
Article
Full-text available
Increasing numbers of empirical studies and theoretical frameworks for preventing sexual violence are appearing in the research- and practice-based literatures. The consensus of this work is that although important lessons have been learned, the field is still in the early stages of developing and fully researching effective models, particularly for the primary prevention of this problem in communities. The purpose of this article is to discuss the utility of applying the transtheoretical model of readiness for change to sexual violence prevention and evaluation. A review of this model and its application in one promising new primary prevention program is provided, along with exploratory data about what is learned about program design and effectiveness when the model is used. The study also represents one of the first attempts to operationalize and create specific measures to quantify readiness for change in the context of sexual violence prevention and evaluation. Implications for program development and evaluation research are discussed.
Article
Full-text available
Although more universities are developing policies for students regarding consent for sexual behavior in response to the problem of sexual violence on campus, many students seem either unaware of these policies or what they mean for actual behavior. Policies are only as effective as peoples' understanding and use of them. The current study aimed to evaluate the utility of a prevention education program focused on teaching students about consent. Two hundred and twenty undergraduates, composing a control group, a shorter treatment group, and a longer one, participated in the study. The findings showed the greatest knowledge gain for participants in the longer treatment group that included a discussion of the policy and participation in an activity dealing with its implications. Implications and future research directions are discussed.
Article
Sexual assault perpetrated by men against women is a distressingly common occurrence, particularly on college campuses. One of the barriers to assault prevention efforts is the general perception of violence against women as an unwanted yet implicitly tolerated aspect of the status quo. Drawing on system justification theory, a concept used to explain why individuals accept aspects of their social systems that are objectively unjust, the mechanisms that perpetuate sexual assault are examined. Furthermore, this theory is used to examine current prevention efforts on college campuses and suggestions for modifications to these programs will be made.
Article
The current study presents the Men's Project, a sexual assault prevention program that targets college men. The Men's Project integrates social norms, empathy, and bystander education programs into one program for college men. Male student leaders were recruited to participate in the 11-week program for 2 hours each week. The beginning of the program introduces men to issues of gender socialization, male privilege, and sexuality, followed by a few weeks exploring the breadth and depth of sexual violence, including its emotional and psychological impacts on survivors. Finally, participants learn about bystander intervention at individual and institutional levels. Participants completed a survey before and after participation in the Men's Project. Results demonstrate that from baseline to posttest, participants reported reductions in sexism, rape myth acceptance, and gender-biased language use in addition to increases in collective action willingness, feminist activism, and bystander efficacy. Discussion centers on men's role in ending sexual violence and the need for more prevention programs targeting men. The present article demonstrates the utility of the Men's Project in engaging men to work toward ending sexual violence.
Article
The present study examined college women's likelihood to report sexual victimization to the police, a friend, the counseling center, their resident advisor, or on a survey (N = 300). In comparison to other forms of reporting, women perceived themselves to be most likely to report victimization on a survey. Women also indicated a higher likelihood to report to friends rather than to other agencies. Likelihood to report on a survey did not vary as a function of history of sexual victimization; however, women with a victimization history indicated a lower likelihood to report to all agencies compared to women without a victimization history. Correlates of women's likelihood to report were also documented.
Article
Perpetrators of sexual aggression consistently report higher scores on measures of psychopathy and acceptance of rape myths relative to nonperpetrators. However, less is known about psychopathy among nonincarcerated individuals and the relation between the two constructs has not been empirically examined among college perpetrators. To address this gap, both constructs were measured in a sample (N = 308) of college men. Rape myth acceptance was positively correlated with psychopathy, and perpetrators scored higher on both constructs. Myths transferring responsibility to victims were related to Factor 1 psychopathy (i.e., callous and manipulative traits). The myth that “rape is trivial” was associated with Factor 1 and Factor 2 (i.e., impulsive and antisocial behavior), possibly suggesting that this myth is related to a larger tendency to excuse aggressive behavior. Although both constructs distinguished perpetrators when considered individually, rape myth acceptance did not explain unique variance in the presence of psychopathy.
Article
In April 2011, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights issued a “Dear Colleague Letter” to colleges and universities clarifying the obligations of schools that receive federal funding under Title IX to respond promptly and effectively to complaints of student-on-student sexual assault. The Letter explained that schools must, among other requirements, use the “preponderance of the evidence” standard of proof in campus disciplinary proceedings for student sexual assault complaints. Commentators quickly criticized the use of the preponderance of the evidence standard as violating accused students' due process rights. This Note examines the history of the due process rights of public school students and applies the Supreme Court's Mathews v. Eldridge procedural due process balancing test to demonstrate that the preponderance of the evidence standard adequately protects accused students’ due process rights when the accused students’ individual interests are balanced against a realistic assessment of the risk of erroneous findings and the significant competing interests of colleges and universities in the particular context of student-on-student sexual assault.
Article
Background: Comorbidity in psychological disorders is common following exposure to a traumatic event. Relatively little is known about the manner in which changes in the symptoms of a given type of psychological disorder in the acute period following a trauma impact changes in symptoms of another disorder. This study investigated the relationship between changes in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety symptoms in the first 12 weeks following sexual assault. Methods: Participants were 126 women who had been sexually assaulted in the previous 4 weeks. Results: Lower level mediation analyses revealed that changes in PTSD symptoms had a greater impact on changes in depression and anxiety than vice versa. Conclusions: The finding highlights the role of PTSD symptoms in influencing subsequent change in other psychological symptoms. These findings are discussed in the context of models detailing the trajectory of psychological disorders following trauma, and clinical implications are considered.
Article
A series of six studies were conducted to explore the structure underlying rape myths and to develop the 45-item Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Scale (''IRMA''). In the first study, 604 participants (mean age 18.8 years, 53% women) rated their level of agreement with 95 pretested rape myth statements. Exploratory and confir-matory multivariate analyses revealed a structure consisting of both a general myth component and seven subcomponents. This structure was replicated in a second study using a new sample and paired comparisons methodology. Study 3 details the development procedures for the IRMA and presents statistics demonstrating its good psychometric properties. Finally, Studies 4–6 support the construct validity of the IRMA. Findings are discussed in terms of their implications for theory, mea-surement, future research, and intervention. © 1999 Academic Press
Article
The authors examined the impact of a mandatory, coeducational sexual assault prevention program on college freshmen's rape myth attitudes. Data from 174 college freshmen required to attend the program indicated that, regardless of gender, the proposed sexual assault prevention program significantly decreased participants' rape myth acceptance attitudes. Implications of the findings for college counselors and directions for future research are discussed.
Article
The bystander intervention approach is gaining popularity as a means for engaging communities in sexual assault prevention, especially on college campuses. Many bystander programs are teaching community members how to intervene without first assisting them to identify the full range of opportunities when they can intervene. In this article, the authors review the literature on sexual violence bystander intervention and present a conceptual framework that lays out a continuum of bystander opportunities ranging from reactive situations after an assault has occurred, to situations before an assault has occurred (posing high to low risk to victims), as well as proactive situations where no risk to the victim is present. The implications of this typology are discussed in the context of program development, evaluation, and further research.
Article
The bystander approach to rape prevention is gaining popularity on college campuses, although research is limited. This study explored bystander attitudes and their relationship with rape myths in a sample of college students. Surveys from 2,338 incoming undergraduate students at a large, northeastern university were analyzed. Participants completed revised versions of the Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Scale and the Bystander Attitude Scale. A higher acceptance of rape myths was reported by males, those pledging a fraternity/sorority, athletes, those without previous rape education, and those who did not know someone sexually assaulted. A greater willingness to intervene as a bystander was reported by females, those who had previous rape education, and those who knew someone sexually assaulted. Acceptance of rape myths was negatively related to willingness to intervene. Bystander intervention programs should include content on rape myths as well as focus on the role of gender.
Article
Objective: The author introduces a template, the Model Policy for the Prevention and Response to Sexual Assault, to assist institutions of higher education to benchmark campus policy compliance with federal laws directed at sexual assault. The author presents a detailed review of policy criteria recommended by the National Institute of Justice. The author proposes 2 unique criteria not found in the National Institute of Justice report for consideration for a comprehensive campus sexual assault policy. Conclusion: The template provides an inclusive system to benchmark campus sexual assault policies. Conforming to the template provides compliance with federal laws and demonstrates that the campus fosters a climate that does not tolerate sexual violence.
Article
The present study utilizes the National College Health Risk Behavior Survey to examine the relationship between health-risk behaviors and sexual victimization among a sample of college women. A prospective design is utilized to examine the relationship between health-risk behaviors as measured at baseline and sexual victimization during a 3-month follow-up period. After controlling for age and parents' education, a history of adolescent sexual victimization was associated with the following health-risk behaviors as measured at pretest: increased likelihood of cigarette smoking, marijuana use, suicidal ideation, experience of physical violence within a dating relationship, use of diet pills and vomiting or laxatives to lose weight, multiple sexual partners, and early sexual intercourse. Prospectively, women's history of adolescent sexual victimization was the strongest predictor of sexual victimization during the 3-month follow-up. Implications of univariate associations between early sexual intercourse, suicidal ideation, and problematic weight loss behaviors and subsequent experience of sexual victimization are discussed.
Criminal victimization in the United States, 2005 statistical tables: national crime victimization survey
  • J L Sedgwick
Sedgwick, J. L. (2006). Criminal victimization in the United States, 2005 statistical tables: national crime victimization survey. Washington: U.S. Department of Justice.
Sexual Misconduct Involving Students, Including Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment
  • E Suarez
  • T M Gadalla
Suarez, E., & Gadalla, T. M. (2010). Stop blaming the victim: a metaanalysis on rape myths. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 25, 2010-2035. University of Alabama. (2014). Policies and Procedures for Students. [Online] Available at: http://www.studenthandbook.ua. edu/policyforstudents.html. Accessed 24 Sept 2014. University of California. (2014). University of California Policy, Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence. Available at: http://policy.ucop. edu/doc/4000385/SHSV. Accessed 19 Dec 2014. University of Iowa. (2013). Sexual Misconduct Involving Students, Including Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment. University of Iowa. Available at: http://www.uiowa.edu/∼our/opmanual/iv/02. htm#21, http://dos.uiowa.edu/policies/. Accessed 24 Sept 2014. University of Michigan. (2014). University of Michigan Policy on Sexual Misconduct by Students. Available at: http://studentsexualmisconductpolicy. umich.edu/content/university-michigan-policy-sexual-misconduct. Accessed 19 Dec 2014.
UO Policy Prohibiting Sexual Harassment, Including Sexual Assault, Intimate Partner/Relationship Violence, and Gender-Based Stalking and Bullying
University of Oregon. (2014). UO Policy Prohibiting Sexual Harassment, Including Sexual Assault, Intimate Partner/Relationship Violence, and Gender-Based Stalking and Bullying. [Online] Available at: http://aaeo.uoregon.edu/policy-prohibiting-sexual harassmentincluding-sexual-assault-intimate-partnerrelationship-violence. Accessed 29 Oct 2014. University of Utah. (2014). Interim University Policy 1-012: Sexual Misconduct: Sexual Assault Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, and Stalking, Prevention and Response. Rev 1. Available at: http://regulations.utah.edu/general/1-012.php. Accessed 6 Oct 2014.
The media's sexual objectification of women, rape myth acceptance, and interpersonal violence
  • K Vance
  • M Sutter
  • P B Berrin
  • M Heesacker
Vance, K., Sutter, M., Berrin, P. B., & Heesacker, M. (2015). The media's sexual objectification of women, rape myth acceptance, and interpersonal violence. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 24(5), 569-587. doi:10.1080/10926771.2015.1029179.
Self-rated health in relation to rape and mental health disorders in a national sample of women
  • H Zinzow
  • A B Amstadter
  • J L Mccauley
  • K J Ruggerio
  • H Resnick
  • D G Kilpatrick
Zinzow, H., Amstadter, A. B., McCauley, J. L., Ruggerio, K. J., Resnick, H., & Kilpatrick, D. G. (2011). Self-rated health in relation to rape and mental health disorders in a national sample of women. Journal of American College Health, 59(7), 588-594.