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Gender Differences in Sexual Assault Victimization among College Students

College students in the United States are especially at risk of sexual assault victimization. Many reports have painted men to be the perpetrators of such acts while women are regarded as victims. The gender differences, although a vital factor in sexual assault victimization, may have been far too generalized thus dealing men a wrong and unfair hand.


The problem of sexual violence remains a huge problem in society. Far from the college scene, statistics show an increasing prevalence of sexual violence in communities across the United States.


In colleges, about 20 to 25% of women have been reported to be victims of sexual violence in any of its forms including rape or attempted rape. While the focus has always been on women, there is a need to also understand the place of men and what they also go through.


Over the years, research and testimonies have corroborated the opinion of some which tend to point to the stark difference between the experience of women and men who have been victims of sexual violence. While college women remain at an all-time high risk of sexual violence during their college careers, much less data is available on the experience of men as they go through the same system.


Recent studies showed that college men were equally sexually victimized, in most cases, by female perpetrators who are often in positions of authority. In one year, a research study reported the rate of sexual victimization by women against college men to be between 10 and 22 percent. This sexual victimization often involved threats and coercion. However, there is a stark difference in this rate when compared to that of physically forced sexual intercourse which stands at about 1 and 3 percent.


One thing remains constant, the context of the sexual victimization suffered by college men remains uncharted, although college men experience the same level of sexual victimization as the women.


A Boston sex crime defense attorney noted that in most cases, women are familiar with their offenders who could be a friend, a boyfriend, an ex-lover, classmate, or an acquaintance. Similar to this, most of the sexual victimization against women took place in the early hours of the morning, evening, or late in the night. College women have also reported that most of their sexual victimization experiences had occurred outside of the campus, usually in residences while over 90 percent of those that occurred on campus grounds took place in residence halls.


It is important to note that studies into the gender differences in sexual assault victimization of college students revealed that unmarried women who enjoy the pleasures of premarital sex, those that have had multiple sexual partners, those living on campus, and those who enjoy frequent drinking to intoxication are at a higher risk. For men, factors that predispose them to sexual assault victimization may include being unmarried, significant consumption of drugs at parties, spending more time at bars, increased number of siblings, being non-white, and lack of a present and consistently earning father during their childhood days.


In summary, both men and women are victims of sexual assault victimization. Victims are also encouraged to speak to a trusted, qualified, and experienced lawyer.