Situational contexts and risk factors associated with incapacitated and nonincapacitated sexual assaults among college women

Louisa Gilbert, Aaron L. Sarvet, Melanie Wall, Kate Walsh, Leigh Reardon, Patrick Wilson, John Santelli, Shamus Khan, Martie Thompson, Jennifer S. Hirsch, Claude A. Mellins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Research has documented multilevel risk factors associated with experiencing incapacitated sexual assault among undergraduate women. Less is known about multilevel risk factors associated with nonincapacitated sexual assault. This study examines and compares the different settings, coercion methods, and relationships in which incapacitated and nonincapacitated sexual assaults occur among undergraduate women. Materials and Methods: Our sample included 253 undergraduate women who reported experiencing sexual assault during college on a population-based survey of randomly selected students at two colleges in New York City in 2016 (N = 1671, response rate = 67%). We examined event-level data on their most significant sexual assault incident since entering college. Using multivariable statistical analysis, we identified situational contexts associated with incapacitated and nonincapacitated assault incidents adjusting for binge drinking, illicit drug use, and other confounding sociodemographic and psychosocial variables. Results: Almost half (47%) of women who experienced sexual assault reported being incapacitated due to alcohol or drugs during the most significant incident. Being at a party before the event and "acquaintance" perpetrators were associated with incapacitated sexual assault after adjusting for binge drinking and other confounders. Meeting a perpetrator through an Internet dating app or indicating the perpetrator was an intimate partner were each associated with nonincapacitated assault incidents. Perpetrator use of physical force and verbal coercion were also associated with nonincapacitated assault incident. Conclusions: The different situational contexts associated with incapacitated and nonincapacitated sexual assaults have important implications for the design of prevention strategies that will effectively target the diverse risk environments in which campus sexual assault occurs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-193
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Volume28
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)

Keywords

  • alcohol use
  • drug use
  • sexual aggression
  • sexual assault
  • sexual violence
  • situational contexts of sexual assault

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