Sexually stressful experiences in university students
Doyle, Brenda Lee
Master of Arts
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Fifty one male and female University students were given a questionnaire inquiring about the occurrence and nature of both invasive (physical contact) and non invasive sexually stressfully experiences in their lives. Of this total, 16.5% reported they had a SSE. Of the fourteen male students responding, 35% indicated at least one SSE. Of the 37 female students, 92^ stated that they had at least one SSE. A total of 104 SSE's were reported with an average of 2.7 per person. There was an almost equal distribution of invasive and non invasive incidents reported. The most common SSE ’ s were unconsented touching and threats of sexual assault. Ninety four percent of the SSE’s involved one attacker who was most often a date or boyfriend. All the incidents were seen as stressful by the victims but the stress level decreased over time. Thirty two percent of the victims felt that the SSE caused a disruption in their lives, primarily in their feelings of safety and interpersonal relationships. Most victims reported to a close friend and family member but only six percent reported it to legal authorities. The most common reasons for not reporting were that victims wanted to forget it or thought it was too commonplace to report. Aggravated sexual assault was perceived as the most stressful to all subjects. Victims were less stereotypic in their attitudes toward sexual assault than non victim subjects and were able to relate better to others SSE victims. Victims also were willing to give longer sentences to hypothetical offenders than non victims. These findings give strong support for the need for counseling for SSE victims and the usefulness of victims helping other victims deal with their SSE.