Advertisement

Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 403–422 | Cite as

Predictors of Sexual Coercion Against Women and Men: A Multilevel, Multinational Study of University Students

  • Denise A. Hines
Original Paper

Abstract

Several explanations have been forwarded to account for sexual coercion in romantic relationships. Feminist theory states that sexual coercion is the result of male dominance over women and the need to maintain that dominance; however, studies showing that women sexually coerce men point towards weaknesses in that theory. Some researchers have, therefore, suggested that it is the extent to which people view the other gender as hostile that influences these rates. Furthermore, much research suggests that a history of childhood sexual abuse is a strong risk factor for later sexual victimization in relationships. Few researchers have empirically evaluated the first two explanations and little is known about whether sexual revictimization operates for men or across cultures. In this study, hierarchical linear modeling was used to investigate whether the status of women and adversarial sexual beliefs predicted differences in sexual coercion across 38 sites from around the world, and whether sexual revictimization operated across genders and cultures. Participants included 7,667 university students from 38 sites. Results showed that the relative status of women at each site predicted significant differences in levels of sexual victimization for men, in that the greater the status of women, the higher the level of forced sex against men. In addition, differences in adversarial sexual beliefs across sites significantly predicted both forced and verbal sexual coercion for both genders, such that greater levels of hostility towards women at a site predicted higher levels of forced and verbal coercion against women and greater levels of hostility towards men at a site predicted higher levels of forced and verbal coercion against men. Finally, sexual revictimization occurred for both genders and across all sites, suggesting that sexual revictimization is a cross-gender, cross-cultural phenomenon. Results are discussed in terms of their contributions to the literature, limitations of the current study, and suggestions for future research.

Keywords

Sexual coercion Child sexual abuse Feminist theory Sexual revictimization Cross-cultural 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health grant T32MH15161 and by the University of New Hampshire. Special thanks go to the Family Research Laboratory and Crimes Against Children Research Center's seminar participants for their valuable comments and suggestions on a previous draft of this article. This article is part of the International Dating Violence Study. Other papers from that study can be downloaded from htttp://pubpages.unh.edu/∼mas2.

References

  1. Aizenman, M., & Kelley, G. (1988). The incidence of violence and acquaintance rape in dating relationships among college men and women. Journal of College Student Development, 29, 305–311.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, P. B. (1996). Correlates of college women's self-reports of heterosexual aggression. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 8, 121–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anderson, P. B. (1998). Variations in college women's self-reported heterosexual aggression. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 10, 283–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Anderson, P. B., & Aymami, R. (1993). Reports of female initiation of sexual contact: Male and female differences. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 22, 335–344.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Baier, J. L., Rosenzweig, M. G., & Whipple, E. G. (1991). Patterns of sexual behavior, coercion, and victimization of university students. Journal of College Student Development, 32, 310–322.Google Scholar
  6. Baron, L., & Straus, M. A. (1984). Sexual stratification, pornography, and rape in the United States. In N. Malamuth & E. Donnerstein (Eds.), Pornography and sexual aggression (pp. 185–209). San Francisco: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  7. Bohn, D. K. (2003). Lifetime physical and sexual abuse, substance abuse, depression, and suicide attempts among Native American women. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 2, 333–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brownmiller, S. (1976). Against our will: Men, women, and rape. New York: Bantam.Google Scholar
  9. Burke, P. J., Stets, J. E., & Pirog-Good, M. A. (1988). Gender identity, self-esteem, and physical and sexual abuse in dating relationships. Social Psychology Quarterly, 51, 272–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Burnam, M. A., Stein, J. A., Golding, J. M., Siegel, J. M., Sorenson, S. B., Forsythe, A. B., et al. (1988). Sexual assault and mental disorders in a community population. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 56, 843–850.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Burt, M. R. (1980). Cultural myths and supports for rape. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 38, 217–230.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Clark, L., & Lewis, D. (1977). Rape: The price of coercive sexuality. Toronto: Women's Press.Google Scholar
  13. Cloitre, M., Tardiff, K., Marzuk, P. M., Leon, A. C., & Portera, L. (1996). Childhood abuse and subsequent sexual assault among female inpatients. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 9, 473–482.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Coid, J., Petruckevitch, A., Feder, G., Chung, W., Richardson, J., & Moorey, S. (2001). Relation between childhood sexual and physical abuse and risk of revictimisation in women: A cross-sectional survey. Lancet, 358, 450–454.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Craig Shea, M. E. (1998). When the tables are turned: Verbal sexual coercion among college women. In P. B. Anderson & C. Struckman-Johnson (Eds.), Sexually aggressive women: Current perspectives and controversies (pp. 94–104). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  16. Desai, S., Arias, I., Thompson, M. P., & Basile, K. C. (2002). Childhood victimization and subsequent adult revictimization assessed in a nationally representative sample of women and men. Violence and Victims, 17, 639–653.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dixon-Mueller, R. (1993). The sexuality connection in reproductive health. Studies in Family Planning, 24, 269–282.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fergusson, D. M., Horwood, J. L., & Lynskey, M. T. (1997). Childhood sexual abuse, adolescent sexual behaviors, and sexual revictimization. Child Abuse and Neglect, 21, 789–803.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fiebert, M. S., & Osburn, K. (2001). Effect of gender and ethnicity on self reports of mild, moderate, and severe sexual coercion. Sexuality and Culture, 5, 3–11.Google Scholar
  20. Fiebert, M. S., & Tucci, L. M. (1998). Sexual coercion: Men victimized by women. Journal of Men's Studies, 6, 127–133.Google Scholar
  21. Fleming, J., Mullen, P. E., Sibthorpe, B., & Bammer, G. (1999). The long-term impact of childhood sexual abuse in Australian women. Child Abuse and Neglect, 23, 145–159.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Forbes, G. B., & Adams-Curtis, L. E. (2001). Experiences with sexual coercion in college males and females: Role of family conflict, sexist attitudes, acceptance of rape myths, self-esteem, and the Big-Five personality factors. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 16, 865–889.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gidycz, C. A., Coble, C. N., Latham, L., & Layman, M. J. (1993). Sexual assault experience in adulthood and prior victimization experiences. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 17, 151–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gidycz, C. A., Hanson, K., & Layman, M. J. (1995). A prospective analysis of the relationships among sexual assault experiences. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 19, 5–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Girshick, L. B. (2002). No sugar, no spice: Reflections on research on woman-to-woman sexual violence. Violence Against Women, 8, 1500–1520.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hickson, F. C., Davies, P. M., Hunt, A., & Weatherburn, P. (1994). Gay men as victims of nonconsensual sex. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 23, 281–294.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Jaffee, D., & Straus, M. A. (1987). Sexual climate and reported rape: A state-level analysis. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 16, 107–123.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kalichman, S. C., & Rompa, D. (1995). Sexually coerced and noncoerced gay and bisexual men: Factors relevant to risk for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Journal of Sex Research, 32, 45–50.Google Scholar
  29. Kalichman, S. C., Benotsch, E., Rompa, D., Gore-Felton, C., Austin, J., Luke, W., et al. (2001). Unwanted sexual experiences and sexual risks in gay and bisexual men: Associations among revictimization, substance use, and psychiatric symptoms. Journal of Sex Research, 38, 1–9.Google Scholar
  30. Kanin, E. J. (1985). Date rapists: Differential sexual socialization and relative deprivation. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 14, 219–231.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. King, M. B., Coxell, A., & Mezey, G. C. (2000). The prevalence and characteristics of male sexual assault. In G. C. Mezey & M. B. King (Eds.), Male victims of sexual assault (2nd ed., pp. 1–15). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Koss, M. P., Leonard, K. E., Beezley, D. A., & Oros, C. A. (1985). Nonstranger sexual aggression: A discriminant analysis of the psychological characteristics of undetected offenders. Sex Roles, 12, 981–992.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Krahé, B., Scheinberger-Olwig, R., & Bieneck, S. (2003). Men's reports of nonconsensual sexual interactions with women: Prevalence and impact. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 32, 165–175.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lawson, A. (1988). Adultery. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  35. Lottes, I. L. (1985). The use of cluster analysis to determine belief patterns of sexual attitudes. Journal of Sex Research, 21, 405–421.Google Scholar
  36. Lottes, I. L. (1991). Belief systems: Sexuality and rape. Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality, 4, 37–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lottes, I. L., & Weinberg, M. S. (1996). Sexual coercion among university students: A comparison of the United States and Sweden. Journal of Sex Research, 34, 67–76.Google Scholar
  38. Malamuth, N. M., Addison, T., & Koss, M. (2000). Pornography and sexual aggression: Are there reliable effects and can we understand them? Annual Review of Sex Research, 11, 26–91.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Merrill, L. L., Newell, C. E., Thomsen, C. J., Gold, S. R., Milner, J. S., Koss, M. P., et al. (1999). Childhood abuse and sexual revictimization in a female Navy recruit sample. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 12, 211–225.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Muehlenhard, C. L., Highby, B. J., Lee, R. S., Bryan, T. S., & Dodrill, W. A. (1998). The sexual revictimization of women and men sexually abused as children: A review of the literature. Annual Review of Sex Research, 9, 177–244.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Muehlenhard, C. L., & Linton, M. A. (1987). Date rape and sexual aggression in dating situations: Incidence and risk factors. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 34, 186–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. O’Sullivan, L. F., & Byers, E. S. (1992). College students’ incorporation of initiator and restrictor roles in sexual dating relationships. Journal of Sex Research, 29, 435–446.Google Scholar
  43. Polusny, M. A., & Follette, V. M. (1995). Long-term correlates of child sexual abuse: Theory and review of the empirical literature. Applied and Preventive Psychology, 4, 143–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Poppen, P. J., & Segal, N. J. (1988). The influence of sex and sex role orientation on sexual coercion. Sex Roles, 19, 689–701.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Randall, M., & Haskell, L. (1995). Sexual violence in women's lives: Findings from the Women's Safety Project, a community-based survey. Violence Against Women, 1, 6–31.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Raudenbush, S. W., & Bryk, A. S. (2002). Hierarchical linear models: Applications and data analysis methods (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  47. Roodman, A. A., & Clum, G. A. (2001). Revictimization rates and method variance: A meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review, 21, 183–204.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Rouse, L. P. (1988). Abuse in dating relationships: A comparison of blacks, whites, and Hispanics. Journal of College Student Development, 29, 312–319.Google Scholar
  49. Russell, D. E. H. (1975). The politics of rape. New York: Stein and Day.Google Scholar
  50. Russell, D. E. H. (1986). The secret trauma: Incest in the lives of girls and women. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  51. Safilios-Rothschild, C. (1977). Love, sex, and sex roles. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  52. Sanday, P. R. (1981). The socio-cultural context of rape: A cross-cultural study. Journal of Social Issues, 37, 5–27.Google Scholar
  53. Siegel, J. A., & Williams, L. M. (2003). Risk factors for sexual victimization of women: Results from a prospective study. Violence Against Women, 9, 902–930.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Spitzberg, B. H. (1999). An analysis of empirical estimates of sexual aggression victimization and perpetration. Violence and Victims, 14, 241–260.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. Stets, J. E., & Pirog-Good, M. A. (1989). Patterns of physical and sexual abuse for men and women in dating relationships: A descriptive analysis. Journal of Family Violence, 4, 63–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Stevenson, M. R., & Gajarsky, W. M. (1991). Unwanted childhood sexual experiences relate to later revictimization and male perpetration. Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality, 4, 57–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Straus, M. A. (1969). Phenomenal identity and conceptual equivalence of measurement in cross-national comparative research. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 31, 233–239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Straus, M. A. (2004). Cross cultural reliability and validity of the Revised Conflict Tactics Scales: A study of university student dating couples in 17 nations. Cross-Cultural Research, 38, 407–432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Straus, M. A., Hamby, S. L., Boney-McCoy, S., & Sugarman, D. (1996). The Revised Conflict Tactics Scales (CTS2): Development and preliminary psychometric data. Journal of Family Issues, 17, 283–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Straus, M. A., Hamby, S. L., Boney-McCoy, S., & Sugarman, D. (1999). The personal and relationships profile (PRP). Durham, NH: University of New Hampshire, Family Research Laboratory. Available at http://pubpages.unh.edu/∼mas2/.Google Scholar
  61. Straus, M. A., & Members of the International Dating Violence Research Consortium. (2004). Prevalence of violence against dating partners by male and female university students worldwide. Violence Against Women, 10, 790–811.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Straus, M. A., & Mouradian, V. E. (1999). Preliminary psychometric data for the Personal and Relationships Profile (PRP): A multi-scale tool for clinical screening and research on partner violence. Durham, NH: University of New Hampshire, Family Research Laboratory. Available at http://pubpages.unh.edu/∼mas2/prp.htm.Google Scholar
  63. Struckman-Johnson, C. (1988). Forced sex on dates: It happens to men, too. Journal of Sex Research, 24, 234–241.Google Scholar
  64. Struckman-Johnson, C. (1991). Male victims of acquaintance rape. In A. Parrot & L. Bechhofer (Eds.), Acquaintance rape: The hidden crime (pp. 192–213). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  65. Struckman-Johnson, C., & Struckman-Johnson, D. (1994). Men pressured and forced into sexual experience. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 23, 93–114.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Swanston, H. Y., Parkinson, P. N., Oates, R. K., O’Toole, B. I., Plunkett, A. M., & Shrimpton, S. (2002). Further abuse of sexually abused children. Child Abuse and Neglect, 26, 115–127.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Turrell, S. C. (2000). A descriptive analysis of same-sex relationship violence for a diverse sample. Journal of Family Violence, 15, 281–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Urquiza, A. J., & Goodlin-Jones, B. L. (1994). Child sexual abuse and adult revictimization with women of color. Violence and Victims, 9, 223–232.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  69. Warshaw, R., & Parrot, A. (1991). The contribution of sex-role socialization to acquaintance rape. In A. Parrot & L. Bechhofer (Eds.), Acquaintance rape: The hidden crime (pp. 73–82). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  70. Waterman, C. K., Dawson, L. J., & Bologna, M. J. (1989). Sexual coercion in gay male and lesbian relationships: Predictors and implications for support services. Journal of Sex Research, 26, 118–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. White, J. W., & Kowalski, R. M. (1994). Deconstructing the myth of the nonaggressive woman: A feminist analysis. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 18, 487–508.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. World Health Organization. (2005). WHO multi-country study on women's health and domestic violence against women: Initial results on prevalence, health outcomes and women's responses. Geneva: Author.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Criminal JusticeUniversity of MassachusettsLowellUSA

Personalised recommendations