3 years ago

Forced Sex and Sexual Consent Among College Women

Heidi Collins Fantasia, Holly B. Fontenot, Melissa A. Sutherland, Terrence J. Lee-St. John
ABSTRACT Introduction: Female college students, aged 18–25 years, are at high risk for sexual violence compared with women of other age groups. Lack of clear consent is a preceding and defining component of forced sex and sexual violence. This study explored the association between sexual consent awareness, attitudes, and beliefs and a history of forced sex among a sample of college women. In addition, the level of alcohol use among this group was examined. Methods: A cross-sectional electronic survey was sent to approximately 5900 female students enrolled at a large public university in the northeastern United States. Sexual consent was measured with the Sexual Consent Scale-Revised, and alcohol use was measured with the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test-Consumption Items. Logistic regression models were used to examine the differences in sexual consent scores based on a history of forced sex. Results: The final sample included 925 students. Twenty-two percent of participants reported a history of forced sex; more than half (59%) reported alcohol use before sexual activity. Women with greater awareness of sexual consent were significantly more likely to have a history of forced sex. Women who utilize more nonverbal, indirect approaches to communicating sexual consent were significantly less likely to have a history of forced sex compared with women with no history of forced sex. Discussion: These findings highlight high rates of forced sex and alcohol use in a sample of college women and explicate sexual consent awareness and communication behaviors associated with a history of forced sex.
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