Assessing Perception of Risk of Sexual Assault at a Border Region University
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It is important to recognize the sociological contexts for understanding why sexual assault is an ongoing problem in society. There are important implications for major institutions with regards to sexual assault reporting and victimization. The stigma associated with victimization, marginalized populations who feel blamed for their victimization, and outdated attitudes about sexual assault all affect reporting and policy. This research will conduct a study on resources, reporting, and perceived personal safety and the effect of risk associated with sexual assault on college and university campuses. By using data that was collected through a survey, information was collected from a border region university about sexual assault, sexual misconduct, reporting procedures, student’s knowledge of resources, and student’s perception on safety at their university. This study will focus primarily on risk reduction through information dissemination and encouraging the reporting of sexual assault. Quantitative research was conducted to evaluate if reporting sexual assault incidents and available resources would increase or decrease the student’s perceived personal risks on college and university campuses. Independent variables included resources, reporting, and personal safety on college and university campuses. The dependent variable is college students’ perceived risk of sexual assault. The control variables are age, race, gender, sexual preference, and relationship status. From an applied point of view, results may potentially lead to a change in how colleges and universities inform students who have been sexually assaulted about available resources, and create more long-term educational programs that will prioritize the increase of campus awareness of sexual victimization. From an academic point of view, the results of this study inform the sociological conversation with regards to the impact of marginalized statuses (e.g. females and males) and stigmatized statuses (e.g., homosexual orientation and heterosexual orientation) on the risk of sexual assault victimization, and how these same statuses reduce or increase the impact of knowledge, resources, and reporting practices in relation to sexual assault victimization. Ultimately, this study seeks to empower people in marginalized, and in stigmatized statuses whether these discounted social positions are in terms of religious preference, sexual orientation, political views, age, gender, and social class.