Research team presents assault findings

Christina Oddo and Amanda Ayers

Writer and News Editor

The University Sexual Assault Research Team, a group of students conducting research under professor of psychology Bill Flack, presented data regarding the results of its fall 2011 survey on Tuesday. Although females can be, and have been, perpetrators, these results primarily focused on issues surrounding female victimization and male perpetration on campus.
In its presentation, the group raised questions about the different perceptions of rape and consent, for example, with the hopes of achieving a better understanding of what is happening on campus and creating a safe and respectful environment for everyone. The data presented was based on a survey offered to 900 females and 900 males during October and November. There was a 36 percent response rate for females, and a 22 percent response rate for males.
Among other findings, the group shared that perpetrators tend to consume more alcohol than non-perpetrators. Perpetrators scored, on average, a 16 on the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification test, which comes with a recommendation for “simple advice plus brief counseling and continued monitoring.” Non-perpetrators scored, on average, an 8. 
The results also delved into victim disclosure and the positive and negative reactions to sexual assault, including belief, information and aid, emotional support and blame.  Non-victims tend to perceive positive reactions upon disclosure of assualt, like finding emotional support, to occur more often than negative ones. When surveyed, victims responded that there was a lower rate of acceptance, belief and positive reaction to their assault than non-victims.
The group also found that there are a significant number of Greek women “facilitators” and that this female facilitation increases the risk of being sexually assaulted. Female facilitation is promoting risky behavior such as increased alcohol consumption, hooking up, hazing, and minimizing the gravity of events. Male peer support–encouraging women to drink with the intent of hooking up with them, etc.–increases perpetration, rape myth acceptance (“she was asking for it,” etc) and sexism. 
The team finally discussed topics relevant to the recent Campus Climate Task Force Report. While most students surveyed agreed with the Greek and alcohol findings in the report, they disagreed with student engagement findings. Additionally, women agreed with the findings on gender dynamics, but men disagreed.
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