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Violence Against Women in College Populations Fran S Danis, PhD University of Arlington School of Social Work International Conference and Workshop.

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Presentation on theme: "Violence Against Women in College Populations Fran S Danis, PhD University of Arlington School of Social Work International Conference and Workshop."— Presentation transcript:

1 Violence Against Women in College Populations Fran S Danis, PhD University of Texas @ Arlington School of Social Work International Conference and Workshop on Ending Violence Against Women Taipei, Taiwan December 18, 2011

2 Definition Terminology varies among cultures Dating violence or relationship violence is defined as the threat or actual use of physical, sexual, or verbal abuse, by one member of an unmarried couple on the other member within the context of a dating relationship. This definition includes a range of dating experiences from the first date to cohabitation, and applies to both heterosexual as well as same-sex relationships (Sugarman & Hotaling, 1989).

3 Predominant aggressors are men who perpetrate violence against women (White & Koss, 1991; DeKeseredy & Schwartz, 1998; Rennison, 2000).

4 Intimate Partner Violence Prevalence Many of the behaviors covered by the terms “dating or relationship violence” including sexual aggression, physical abuse, psychological abuse, and stalking are studied independently, making estimates of college prevalence rates difficult to determine.

5 Physical Abuse The majority of studies examining physical abuse alone estimate rates at one in five to one in three college women are abused by a male partner (Bogal-Allbritten & Allbritten, 1985; White & Koss, 1991; DeKeseredy & Schwartz, 1998).

6 Stalking on Campus Similar rates are found for stalking on campus. In one seven month period 13.1% of college women reported being stalked and more than 40% of the known stalkers were a boyfriend or ex-boyfriend (Fisher, Cullen, & Turner, 2002).

7 Psychological Abuse Psychological abuse is often found to be a precursor of physical and sexual violence with rates as high as 90% (Neufeld, McNamara & Ertl, 1999). “Sticks and Stones”: – Insulting or belittling remarks – Attempts to control another through words, mind games

8 Sexual Violence Prevalence rates for sexual assault and rape of college women are also estimated at rates of 1 in 3 (Koss, Gidyez, & Wisniewski, 1987; Fisher, Cullen, & Turner, 2000). The National College Women Sexual Victimization Survey (NCWSVS) reports the rate for college women to be 27.7 rapes per 1000 female students 1

9 Sexual Violence against Men NVAWS estimated that 3% of men will have experienced a completed or attempted rape at some time in their life 13. One study of a large urban area approximates that 5%-10 % of rape victims are male 16. Very little data on this issue.

10 Risk Factors for Perpetration* Individual Alcohol and drug use Coercive sexual fantasies Impulsive and antisocial tendencies Preference for impersonal sex Hostility towards women Hypermasculinity Childhood history of sexual and physical abuse Witnessed family violence as a child Relationship Association with sexually aggressive and delinquent peers Strong patriarchal relationship or familial environment *US Centers for Disease Control

11 Risk Factors Continued Community General tolerance of sexual violence within the community Weak community sanctions against sexual violence perpetrators Society Societal norms that support sexual violence Societal norms that support male superiority and sexual entitlement Societal norms that maintain women's inferiority and sexual submissiveness Weak laws and policies related to gender equity

12 High Risk Group Within College Populations Within college samples, most studies find sorority members more at-risk for intimate partner violence than the general population of college women (Kalof & Cargill, 1991; Worth, Matthews, & Coleman, 1990; Martin & Hummer, 1989; Copenhaver & Grauerholz, 1991; Sawyer, Schulken & Pinciaro, 1997). Sorority members, particularly those that live in sorority houses, are also three times as likely to be sexually assaulted while intoxicated than the general population of collegiate women who live on campus (Mohler-Kuo, Dowdall, Koss & Weschsler, 2004).

13 What makes Sorority Members High Risk? There are strong positive associations between: – fraternity and sorority membership and alcohol use (Alva, 1998; Larimer, Irvine, & Kilmer, 1997; Wechsler, Kuh & Davenport, 1996), – alcohol use and sexual assault (Ullman, Karabatsos & Koss, 1999; Koss & Gaines, 1993), – and fraternities, alcohol, and sexual aggression (Eberhardt, Rice & Smith, 2003; Humphreys & Kahn, 2000; Martin & Hummer, 1989).

14 Underreported Crime Fewer than 5% of completed or attempted rapes against college-age women are reported to law enforcement a majority of victims (66%) tell friends but not family or school officials 14. Koss 21 found that 42% of college female rape victims had never told anyone about the incident.

15 Barriers to Reporting “it was a private matter, took care of it informally,” “afraid of reprisal from offender or other,” “reported to another official,” “minor incident,” “not clear it was a crime,” “did not want the offender to get in trouble,” “police would not think it was important or would be inefficient or ineffective,” “police would be biased or cause the respondent trouble,” “could not identify the offender” 25

16 Self-Blame & Minimizing Many rape survivors often blame themselves for the abuse and don’t want people to know about their victimization (Mahlstedt & Keeny, 1993; Bondurant, 2001). Women in physically abusive relationships are also likely to minimize their experiences (Dunham & Senn, 2000).

17 Disclosure to Friends When victims do disclose to their friends, peer support is usually good (Mahlstedt & Keeny, 1993; Ullman, 1999; Ahrens & Campbell, 2000). Friends who had also been sexually assaulted were slightly more helpful than male friends and female friends who had not personally experienced assault (Ahrens & Campbell, 2000).

18 Consequences Clinical levels of post traumatic stress disorder Increased smoking, alcohol, and illegal drug use Limitations on physical activities Difficulties with performing work Cognitive impairment such as the inability to focus on tasks (McGruder-Johnson, Davidson, Gleaves, Stock & Finch, 2000; Kirkpatrick, Acierno, Resnick, Saunders & Best, 1997; Straight, Harper, Arias, 2003).

19 Female survivors of childhood maltreatment sexually assaulted in college are at increased risk for dropping out of school (Duncan, 2000). Having classes in common with an abuser may increase opportunities for unwanted contacts and stalking. Stalking victims must often change their routines, alter their daily travel routes, quit their jobs, relocate, and restrict leaving their homes (Spitzberg, 2002). This may significantly impact one’s ability to successfully complete classes.

20 Needs of Survivors Temporary places to stay Medical care Mental health counseling Economic assistance Legal help Academic counseling

21 Coordinated Campus Response: Staff, Students and Faculty Student Health Centers Campus residential life Women’s Centers Student Counseling centers Multicultural Centers Greek Life VAW Community Agencies Campus Police Campus Judicial Services Wellness Centers Disability Services International Student centers Faith Groups Employee Assistance

22 Federal Policy Support In U.S. – Student Right to Know Act of 1991 (Cleary Act) to report crime rates to the federal government (National Center for Victims of Crime, 1995). – The Campus Sexual Assault Victims Bill of Rights of 1992 further requires colleges to notify sexual assault victims of their rights, provide appropriate crisis services, and to have formal policies for addressing sexual assault – Funding through the Violence Against Women Act

23 Activities on Campus Public education and awareness campaigns – Message that violence against women is not tolerated – Ads in student newspapers – Chancellor’s/President’s message for DVAM – Resource cards with purple ribbons distributed – Lunchtime Talks & Seminars – Theatre Programs – The Clothesline Project – Take Back the Night Events


25 Research & Data Collection Sharing of research and best practices Coordination of data collection on campus & in community Community agency shares information about recent assaults to campus judicial officer, campus police, and Greek Life coordinators

26 Create and Enact Survivor-Centered Policies University policies can be complex as student status for both offenders and survivors and the location of the assault is taken into account to determine whether the university or local authorities have jurisdiction over the case How do university policies assist women who are survivors? If abusers and survivors attend the same classes, do they require abusers to change their schedules, or is the onus on the survivor?

27 Survivor-centered policies should be flexible, non-survivor blaming, and should make the safety of the survivor foremost

28 Safety Planning Safety plans help women identify strategies to maximize their safety and well-being such as letting someone else know where they are going and with whom, who to call in case your date has too much to drink, and how to protect their drink from predatory drugs such as rohypnol.

29 Intervention Programs Development of crisis response teams Training of peer sexual assault advocates Campus access to Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner through Student Health Center for forensic exams – can be done confidentially Predatory Drug Task Forces

30 Holding Abusers Accountable Hold abusers and rapists accountable for their behavior through campus judicial process and through community-based prosecution Presentations on campus judicial policies and local police and prosecutorial policies and practices. Incorporation of information about campus judicial policies by community advocates working with campus students

31 Sensitivity to Diversity Recognition that one size does not fit all. Pursuit of culturally competent and sensitive programs and interventions Involvement of diverse communities in program activities Outreach to diverse communities

32 Rape Avoidance vs. Rape Prevention Men’s Groups – Men Against Rape Bystander Intervention targeting athletes, fraternities Green Dot Campaign

33 For More Information Workshop Topic IV: Violence Against Women in College Populations Tuesday at 9 AM Drs. Christopher Allen & Fran Danis Hsueh Chin Lin, Counseling Psychologist at Chung Lin Institute of Psychotherapy

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