Female Canadian university sexual assault survivors: why they do not report
Master of Arts
DisciplinePsychology : Clinical
Rape culture and rape myths
Factors associated with the reporting of sexual assault
Female university students (sexual assault)
MetadataShow full item record
Female Canadian university students are at a high risk for sexual victimization and as few as 5% report the assault. Various Canadian provincial governments have put forward legislation to develop and improve university sexual assault policies in order to decrease the number of sexual assault occurrences and to better support survivors. To inform such policies, it is important to understand why female university students do or do not report a sexual assault they have experienced; however there appears to be lacunae in the literature regarding factors that influence whether female university students report a sexual assault. The objective of the present study was to address the gaps in existing literature by examining how contextual, psychological, and reporting/legal factors relate to the reporting practices of female Canadian university sexual assault survivors. The findings from the present study show that the presence of physical injuries from the assault and seeking health services after the assault significantly increase the odds that survivors will report the assault to the authorities. Meanwhile, moderate to high levels of alcohol consumption (3 or more drinks) before the assault and having previously been sexually assaulted significantly decrease the odds that survivors will report the assault to the authorities. Weapon use, alcohol or drug use, psychological outcomes from the assault, fears regarding the legal process, and seeking counselling services did not significantly predict reporting. Such findings highlight that specific contextual factors and health service-seeking behaviours appear to play a significant role in reporting, while psychological factors and fear of being believed appear to be less significant than previous literature suggests.
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