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Exploring a Feminist Routine Activities Approach to Explaining Sexual Assault

NCJ Number
Justice Quarterly Volume: 12 Issue: 1 Dated: (March 1995) Pages: 9-31
M D Schwartz; V L Pitts
Date Published
23 pages
Based on routine activities theory, this study examines the hypotheses that women who drink more and drink more often than other women are more likely to be the targets of sexual assaultive behavior, and that women are more likely to be victimized if they have friends who use alcohol to get women drunk for the purpose of having sex.
Data were collected from 288 female undergraduates who completed a questionnaire and the Koss Sexual Experiences Survey. The results of multivariate analyses confirmed both hypotheses. It appears that a number of women engage in behavior that makes them suitable targets for available motivated offenders. The routine activities theory fits in well with a feminist explanation of sexual assault because the theory requires only the presence of suitable targets, i.e, a lifestyle choice that places some women at risk of victimization. The routine activities approach implies that certain measures should be taken to protect young women from sexual victimization. However, as the author notes, the solution is not in keeping women away from alcohol, but in implementing far-reaching economic, legal and social changes. 7 tables, 9 notes, and 83 references