Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, Oakland University
- College women with sexual victimization histories reported lower confidence in and likelihood to use their campus sexual assault resources than nonvictimized women.
- Victimized and nonvictimized women underreported sexual assault as a significant problem on campus, which suggests a need for improved communication and provision of campus sexual assault resources.
- It is especially important for college women with sexual victimization histories to be encouraged to utilize campus sexual assault resources, as they are at increased risk for revictimization.
In the article, “College Women’s Perceptions of and Inclination to Use Campus Sexual Assault Resources: Comparing the Views of Students With and Without Sexual Victimization Histories,” Burgess-Proctor examined the impact of victimization history on college women’s likelihood to use campus sexual assault resources. The study surveyed a sample of 247 female undergraduate students and found that women with sexual victimization histories reported lower confidence in and likelihood to use their campus sexual assault resources than nonvictimized women. The study’s results suggest that colleges and universities should understand the unique characteristics and needs of specific student populations and should use that information to inform their sexual assault resource provision. The authors suggested that one way to accomplish this aim is to conduct annual sexual assault climate surveys, which is a recognized best practice. As the issue of campus sexual assault continues to receive increasing national attention, this study underscores the fact that colleges and universities face the task of improving communication about existing resources as well as ensuring that those resources are accessible to all students.