Study: Women with little or no college face greater sexual assault risk

Women who don’t go to college have a greater risk of some sort of forced sex than those who went to college for four or more years, a new study says.

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Women who don’t go to college have a greater risk of some sort of forced sex than those who went to college for four or more years, according to a new study from the University of Michigan.

The study also found that one in four woman have had some sort of forced intercourse by the time they are 44.

The study, by William Axinn, a researcher at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research and professor of sociology and public policy, shows that women with little or no college are at about 2.5 times greater risk for experiencing forced sex.

The increased risk also holds for men, although the rate is lower. The study found that about 8% of men report forced sex, and men with less than four years of college have four times higher odds of experiencing it.

“When I first saw how high the rates were on campus, like most Americans, I was deeply disturbed,” Axinn said in a written statement. “When I thought through the processes and imagined it could be even worse off-campus, I was disturbed that we’re paying so much attention to the on-campus issue and not giving enough attention to young people who are not fortunate enough to be enrolled in college.”

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The study used data from the U.S. National Survey of Family Growth. The nationally representative survey queries about 5,000 American men and women ages 15-44 annually about broad range of topics about family life. One data set asks respondents whether they have ever have been forced to have sex.

“Intoxication was a common circumstance for sexual assault, but more common was verbal pressure or verbal abuse,” Axinn said. “The parallel between this national result and campus-specific results was striking.”

Several universities have done surveys of sexual assault on their campus, including the University of Michigan.

In that study, released in 2015, more than 20% of undergraduate female students at U-M said they experienced some sort of nonconsensual sexual behavior in the past year, a new survey shows. About 12% of female undergraduates said they experienced nonconsensual sexual penetration.

Contact David Jesse: 313-222-8851 or djesse@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter: @reporterdavidj

 

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