Discussion 1

Discussion 1

Discussion #1: Sexual Violence & Rape Culture


Discussion 1 is based on content from "Sexual Violence and Rape Culture."All 5 questions are mandatory & all questions require citations (total 6 citations). Citations should be included within your answer and a full reference included at the end of your answer (see discussion post guidelines for examples). You should also respond to one classmate's post.In order to ensure you receive the grade you have earned, remember to number your responses so it is clear to me which question you are answering.  

Please do not submit this as a document. Use the text box.

Part 1: 

  1. Review the powerpoint from Week 5 titled "PPT: Sexual Violence & Campus Sexual Violence Statistics." This powerpoint lists statistics highlighting differing perspectives on sexual assault prevalence which varied across studies and across demographic groups (e.g. race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, year in school, etc). What were your reactions to this? Why do you think these disparities/inequities may exist? (50 words minimum, must include 1 citation from course material, 1 point)
  2. What is meant by the term “rape culture?” (150 words minimum, must include 1 citation from course material and 1 citation from outside the course, 2 points)
  3. Module 2 content presented multiple and opposing perspectives regarding if we truly live in a rape culture and if we should be using this term. Summarize these opposing and multiple perspectives. (150 words minimum, must include 1 citation from course material, 2 points)
  4. Based on your own observations, does rape culture exist and should we be using this term? Do we live in a rape culture? Why or why not? Feel free to include screen shots from social media or examples from media or your environment to support your perspective (150 words minimum; must include 1 citation from either course material or from outside the course, 2 points)
  5. You learned about a lot of different concepts and perspectives in our "Sexual Violence and Rape Culture" module. Select one concept or perspective that was covered in this module and expand on it in some way that was not covered in the course content. For example, you may have wanted to learn more about sexual violence among people with disabilities or among Indigenous populations or there may be certain voices you want to amplify. You can take this opportunity to perform your own research and report back on what you find.  (150 words minimum; 1 citation required; must be from outside course content, 2 points)

Part 2 (1 point)

Comment on a classmate's post (3 sentences minimum).

Saying things like "good job" or "I agree" is not enough. Please provide a thoughtful response to some aspect of your classmate's post.

For example: What was your reaction to their post? Was there anything they did not discuss that you think is important? 

WST 3011/PSY 4930 Sexual Violence & Campus Sexual Violence Prevalence

Dr. Victoria Burns

Sexual Violence Prevalence

Sexual assault prevalence is the total number or percentage of people in a population that experiences sexual assault during a particular time period

Statistics regarding sexual violence prevalence can be confusing and problematic based on: underreporting and associated stigma; the way a question is asked; misunderstandings or miscommunication regarding definitions of rape and sexual assault; and how those definitions can change based on the state you live in or the university you attend (National Institute of Justice, 2008; National Research Council, 2014; Ullman, 2010; Yoffe, 2014)

You'll therefore never be tested on specific sexual violence statistics in this class since they can vary so widely based on these and other related variables

We will still review some commonly cited statistics (and some uncommon ones) in these slides and you will read opposing perspectives on this topic with your Week 6 readings by Emily Yoffe (2014) and Lauren Oyler (2015)

Sexual violence prevalence, continued

There are various perspectives on sexual violence/campus sexual violence prevalence:

A common statistic cited comes from “The Campus Sexual Assault Study” that found 1 in 5 women (20%) and 6% of men surveyed were the victim of a sexual assault while in college (Krebs et al., 2007)

Critics of this commonly used statistic cite the following:

These results should not be generalized to the whole population as it only included the experience of students from two universities (5,446 women and 1,375 men) (Yoffe, 2014)

Critics of those critics conducted a meta-analysis focusing on “large, representative samples and concluded that one in five is a reasonable accurate average across women and campuses. We suggest the controversy occurs because of misunderstandings about methods and results and because this topic has implications for gender relations, power, and sexuality” (Muehlenhard, et al., 2017)

Sexual violence prevalence, continued

The Sexual Victimization of College Women Survey (Fisher, Cullen, & Turner, 2000) purported that 20-25% of women are at risk of experiencing completed or attempted rape victimization while in college

Critics cite that the actual study only found the risk of rape victimization to be 1 in 36 (2.8%) but that the authors arrived at 25% by “projecting results.” In other words, they collected data for 6.9 months but “calculated” what it would be for 12 months. Then, using 5 years as an average for how long it takes to graduate college, they estimated the percentage to be between 20-25% (Yoffe, 2014)

National Institute of Justice Findings

“Researchers have been unable to determine the precise incidence of sexual assault on American campuses because the incidence found depends on how the questions are worded and the context of the survey (National Institute of Justice, 2008)

“Sexual assault and rape are underreported crimes” (National Institute of Justice, 2008)

Despite acknowledging the limitation of the 1 in 5 statistic, the National Institute of Justice points to several studies that collectively indicate between 18-20% of female students experience rape or some type of sexual assault during college (NIJ, 2008)

National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)

The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) findings for 1995-2013, a survey conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) found:

Approximately .6 percent of college women (6.1 per 1,000) experienced rape and sexual assault victimization

Critics cite a study conducted by the “Panel on Measuring Rape and Sexual Assault in Bureau of Justice Statistics Household Surveys” from the National Research Council (2014). This panel was convened to address the “significant concern that rape and sexual assault are undercounted in the NCVS.” The study found:

“The National Crime Victimization Survey, which is designed as an omnibus victimization survey, is efficient in measuring the many types of criminal victimizations across the United States, but it does not measure the low incidence events of rape and sexual assault with the precision needed for policy and research purposes. Comparisons across subgroups and years are particularly problematic.”

“A lack of privacy for those responding to the survey may inhibit accurate responses”

“The questionnaire uses words with ambiguous meaning”

The Association of American Universities Campus Climate Reports

The Association of American Universities published two large studies in 2015 and 2019 that attempted to address some of the criticism from previous studies, namely they included a large and diverse sample of students and colleges (150,000 – 181,752 students and 27-33 universities, respectively).

“College students who said they had a disability had higher rates of victimization. For example, 31.6% of female undergraduates with a disability reported nonconsensual sexual contact involving physical force or incapacitation. This compares to 18.4 percent of the undergraduate females without a disability.” (Cantor et al., 2015)

Other nonconsensual sexual contact involving physical force or incapacitation statistics:

23.4% of American Indian/Alaska Native female undergraduates (2015)

17.9% of Hispanic female undergraduates and 19% of Non-Hispanic female undergraduates (2015)

The Association of American Universities Campus Climate Reports, cont

“The overall rate of nonconsensual sexual contact by physical force or inability to consent since the student enrolled at the school was 13.0 percent, with the rates for women*, TGQN* and undergraduate students being significantly higher than for men and graduate/professional students” (In this study, TGQN was defined as transgender, non-binary, genderqueer, gender questioning or gender not listed) (Cantor et al, 2019)

*Students reporting the highest risks of victimization were TGQN students and women

“For the schools that participated in both the 2015 (Cantor, et al) and 2019 (Cantor et al) surveys, the rate of nonconsensual sexual contact by physical force or inability to consent increased from 2015 to 2019 by 3 percentage points for undergraduate women, 2.4 percentage points for graduate and professional women, and 1.4 percentage points for undergraduate men. The change for TGQN and graduate professional men was not statistically significant”

Other commonly cited campus statistics

Coulter and Rankin (2017) reported on the prevalence of past-year sexual assault in a sample of 71,421 undergraduate students from 120 post-secondary educational institutions. They reported prevalence statistics through various demographic characteristics related to gender identity, sexual identity, and race/ethnicity:

Gender identity: Sexual assault was reported among “…20.9% of transgender people, 8.6 of cisgender women and lowest among cisgender men (3.6%)”

Sexual identity: “15.7% of bisexual people, 12.6% of people unsure of their sexual identity, 9.8% of people who identify as gay/lesbian and 6.4% of heterosexual people reported sexual assault”

Race/ethnicity: “ Past year sexual assault was greatest among people identifying as Black (8.7%) and people with other race/ethnicity (8.6%), followed by people who identify as White (7.0%) and lowest among people who identify as Latino (5.4%) and Asian Pacific Islander (5.3%)”

Other commonly cited campus statistics

A couple of commonly cited studies reflect data collected from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU):

The HBCU Campus Sexual Assault (CSA) 2011 study surveyed 3,951 undergraduate women from 4 HBCUs and found:

“Previous studies of campus sexual assault provided little information on victimization rates by race or ethnicity, partially because of the small number of racial and/or ethnic minorities in the samples”

14% of undergraduate women attending 1 of 4 HBCUs experienced an attempted or completed sexual assault since entering college (Krebs, Barrick, Lindquist, et al., 2011)

Lindquist, Crosby, Barrick et al. (2016) surveyed 3,951 undergraduate women from 4 HBCUs. The authors purport:

That “undergraduate HBCU women who experienced sexual assault since entering college were rarely disclosing the assault to formal support networks like health/crisis services and law enforcement agencies” and some common reasons given are related to “concerns about the incident not being serious enough and their privacy not being maintained”

Other commonly cited national statistics

The Center for Disease Control published the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (2016/2017) where they reported the percentage of completed or attempted lifetime rape victimization for the following U.S. demographic groups (approximate estimates based on 15,152 women and 12, 419 men):

1 in 4 women (26.8%)

About 1 in 26 men (3.8%)

More than 2 in 5 non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native (43.7%) and non-Hispanic multiracial (48%) women

A little more than 1 in 4 non-Hispanic Black women (29%) and non-Hispanic White women (28.1%)

1 in 5 Hispanic women (19.7%)

1 in 6 non-Hispanic Asian or Pacific Islander women (17.2%)

6.3% of non-Hispanic multiracial men

3.9% of non-Hispanic White men

3.2% of Hispanic men

2.9% of non-Hispanic Black men

Other commonly cited national statistics, continued

The Center for Disease Control published the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (2010) where they reported the percentage of completed or attempted lifetime rape victimization for the following U.S. demographic groups (approximate estimates based on 9,086 women and 7,421 men):

Bisexual women: 46.1%

Heterosexual women: 17.4%

Lesbian women: 13.1%

Heterosexual men: 0.7%

Gay and bisexual men (they reported numbers were too small to calculate)