Annals of sex research

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 215–226 | Cite as

Gender differences in college student sexual abuse victims and their offenders

  • Gloria J. Fischer


A sample of 796 students in psychology classes completed an anonymous sex survey that included questions to identify sexual abuse victims (as children, teenagers, or adults) and their offenders. Most child sexual abuse was incestuous, with women students more likely to have been abused by a nuclear or non-nuclear family member, and men students were more likely to have been abused by a non-nuclear family member or family friend. Heterosexual abuse predominated in both genders, but more so in women (86%) than in men (64%). Homosexual child abuse predominated in males offended by a family friend and was common in women only when the offender was a babysitter. Though most child sexual abuse in college students was incestuous (59% of female and 38% of male child victims), the incidence of incestuous abuse was less than that found in a clinical sample (71% and 60%, respectively). On the other hand, college student male child victims were not abused at a younger age than female child victims, as has been reported in clinical samples. The latter finding may be spurious, a function of the inclusion of teenage victims in clinical samples, where females are over-represented. Cognitive predictors of teenage or adult sexual abuse were: uncertainty that forcible rape in a date rape vignette really was rape; a lesser tendency to blame the male perpetrator; and more accurate sexual knowledge. Child sexual abuse also was a predictor of teenage or adult sexual abuse, especially in women.


Sexual Abuse Child Sexual Abuse Sexual Knowledge Child Victim Woman Student 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Juniper Press 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gloria J. Fischer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWashington State UniversityPullman

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