To address the shortage of cross-cultural research on vulnerability factors of sexual victimization, this two-wave longitudinal study examined predictors of sexual victimization among female and male college students in Chile (N = 1098) and Turkey (N = 885). These two countries were selected based on theoretical considerations regarding religiosity and gender inequality. A path model was tested that conceptualized participants’ risky scripts for consensual sex, risky sexual behavior, sexual self-esteem, refusal assertiveness, and religiosity at T1 as predictors of sexual victimization in the following 12 months, as assessed at T2, mediated through past experiences of sexual victimization. As predicted, more risky sexual scripts were linked to more risky sexual behavior and lower refusal assertiveness, indirectly increasing the odds of sexual victimization in both countries. Lower sexual self-esteem predicted a higher probability of sexual victimization through lower refusal assertiveness as well as through more risky sexual behavior in both the Chilean and Turkish samples. Higher religiosity in Chile, a Christian country, and Turkey, a Muslim country, indirectly predicted a lower vulnerability to sexual victimization through less risky sexual scripts and less risky sexual behavior. In the Turkish sample only, higher religiosity predicted a higher vulnerability to sexual victimization through lower sexual self-esteem. The findings show that risky sexual scripts played a central role in the prediction of sexual victimization in both cultures, which has implications for prevention efforts.
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In Turkey, sexual activities with a minor under 15 years are legally considered child sexual abuse, where consent is not an issue. Sexual contacts with a person between 15 and 17 years of age are prosecuted if the perpetrator exploited a relationship of care or if marriage between victim and offender is forbidden by law. Consensual sexual activities with adolescents between 15 and 17 years can only be prosecuted on complaint. In Chile, child sexual abuse includes sexual activities with a person under 14 years. The legal age of consent for heterosexual sexual activities is 14; for homosexual sexual activities, it is 18. Age of consent is raised to 18 years if it involves a relationship of care or an exploitation of the adolescent’s mental disturbance, neglect, or sexual inexperience.
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The study was facilitated by a grant from the German Academic Scholarship Foundation (Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes) to the first author. The authors are grateful to Paola Ilabaca Baeza, José Antonio Muñoz-Reyes, and Ezgi Toplu-Demirtaş for their support.
Conflict of interest
Both authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Approval of the study protocol and all instruments was obtained from the Ethics Committee of the authors’ home university as well as the collaborating universities in Chile and Turkey.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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Schuster, I., Krahé, B. Predicting Sexual Victimization Among College Students in Chile and Turkey: A Cross-Cultural Analysis. Arch Sex Behav 48, 2565–2580 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-018-1335-z
- Sexual victimization
- Sexual scripts