Based on self-report data from a random sample of undergraduate women (n=5,446), this study examined the women’s experience of sexual assaults committed by various means (physical force, alcohol-enabled or other drug-enabled, and drug facilitated) before and since entering college.
The findings indicate that 28.5 percent of the women reported having experienced an attempted or completed sexual assault either before or since entering college. Nearly 16 percent of the women had experienced attempted or completed sexual assault before entering college. Nineteen percent of the women reported experiencing completed or attempted sexual assault since entering college. Since entering college, slightly more women experienced completed sexual assault (13.7 percent) than attempted sexual assault (12.6 percent). Nearly 5 percent of the women were forcibly sexually assaulted; however, most sexual assaults occurred after women voluntarily consumed alcohol, and a few occurred after women had been given a drug without their knowledge or consent. Given the prevalent link between alcohol use and sexual assault, the authors recommend the development, implementation, and evaluation of campus-based sexual violence prevention programs that include a component that educates students about the link between substance use and sexual victimization. Such programs should teach students to use various cognitive, behavioral, and social strategies to monitor the amount of alcohol and/or drugs they consume and to recognize when they, or their peers, are cognitively and/or physically impaired. This analysis was part of a Web-based survey that collected a wide range of information from the students. The current analysis was based on a separate series of questions about experiences of sexual assault and the circumstances under which they occurred. The majority of the women were White and 18-20 years old. 1 table, 2 figures, 21 references, and appended definitions of sexual assault used in the study
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