Sexuality & Culture

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 533–542 | Cite as

“Never Go Out Alone”: An Analysis of College Rape Prevention Tips

  • Nicole BederaEmail author
  • Kristjane Nordmeyer
Original Paper


The role of women in college sexual assault prevention and risk reduction has been controversial as movements for men’s participation become more popular. Research on college sexual assault prevention and risk reduction has largely focused on individual programs or universities. Previous research has largely avoided larger studies of the messages many colleges give their students regarding who is responsible for rape prevention on campus. This article attempts to fill that gap by examining rape prevention and risk reduction tips posted on 40 college websites. Each tip was analyzed for frequency and intended audience and the women’s tips as a group were analyzed for common themes. Researchers found that most tips are still directed at women and that they convey four main messages: there are no safe places for women, women can’t trust anyone, women should never be alone, and women are vulnerable. Findings imply that the burden of college sexual assault prevention still falls primarily on female students.


Sexual assault Prevention Risk reduction College students Rape myths Blaming the victim 



This study was supported by the Westminster College Honors Program. The authors would like to thank the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the Rape Recovery Center, and Marty Liccardo for their support.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. Adams-Curtis, L. E., & Forbes, G. B. (2004). College women’s experiences of sexual coercion: A review of cultural, perpetrator, victim, and situational variables. Trauma, Violence, and Abuse, 5(2), 91–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Benson, B., Gohm, C., & Gross, A. (2007). College women and sexual assault: The role of sex-related alcohol expectancies. Journal of Family Violence, 22(6), 341–351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brecklin, L. R., & Ullman, S. E. (2005). Self-defense or assertiveness training and women’s responses to sexual attacks. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 20(6), 738–762.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Camody, M. (2005). Ethical erotics: Re-conceptualizing anti-rape education. Sexualities, 8(4), 465–480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Center for Disease Control. (2012). Sexual violence: Facts at a glance. Retrieved from:
  6. de Becker, G. (1997). The gift of fear. New York, NY: Dell Publishing.Google Scholar
  7. Filipovic, J. (2008). Offensive feminism: The conservative gender norms that perpetuate rape culture, and how feminists can fight back. In F. Friedman & J. Valenti (Eds.), Yes means yes! (pp. 13–28). Berkeley, CA: Seal Press.Google Scholar
  8. Foubert, J. D., Longhinrichsen-Rohling, J., Brasfield, H., & Hill, B. (2010). Effects of rape awareness program on college women: Increasing bystander efficacy and willingness to intervene. Journal of Community Psychology, 38(7), 813–827.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gurette, S. M., & Caron, S. L. (2007). Assessing the impact of acquaintance rape: Interview with women who are victims/survivors of sexual assault while in college. Journal of College Student Psychotherapy, 22(2), 31–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hall, R. (2004). “It can happen to you”: Rape prevention in the age of risk management. Hypatia, 19(3), 1–19.Google Scholar
  11. Higginbotham, A. (2008). Sex worth fighting for. In F. Friedman & J. Valenti (Eds.), Yes means yes! (pp. 241–250). Berkeley, CA: Seal Press.Google Scholar
  12. Jozkowski, K. N., & Peterson, Z. D. (2013). College students and sexual consent: Unique insights. Journal of Sex Research, 50(6), 517–523.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kimmel, M. (2008). Guyland: The perilous world where boys become men. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.Google Scholar
  14. Marine, S. (2004). Waking up from the nightmare of rape. Chronicle of Higher Education, 51(14), B5.Google Scholar
  15. McCaughey, M., & King, N. (1995). Rape education videos: Presenting mean women instead of dangerous men. Teaching Sociology, 23, 374–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Morrison, K. (2000). Motivating women and men to take protective action against rape: Examining direct and indirect persuasive fear appeals. Health Communication, 18(3), 237–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Orchowski, L. M., Gidyzc, C. A., & Raffle, H. (2008). Evaluation of a sexual assault risk reduction and self-defense program: A prospective analysis of a revised protocol. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 32(2008), 204–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Perry, B. (2008). Hooking up with healthy sexuality: The lessons boys learn (and don’t learn) about sexuality, and why a sex-positive rape prevention paradigm can benefit everyone involved. In F. Friedman & J. Valenti (Eds.), Yes means yes! (pp. 193–208). Berkeley, CA: Seal Press.Google Scholar
  19. Piccigallo, J. R., Lilley, T. G., & Miller, S. L. (2012). “It’s cool to care about sexual violence”: Men’s experiences with sexual assault prevention. Men and Masculinties, 15(5), 507–525.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Pinzone-Glover, H. A., Gidycz, C. A., & Jacobs, C. D. (1998). An acquaintance rape prevention program: Effects of attitudes toward women, rape-related attitudes, and perceptions of rape scenarios. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 22(1998), 605–621.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Rich, M. D., Utley, E. A., Janke, K., & Moldoveanu, M. (2010). “I’d rather be doing something else”: Male resistance to rape prevention programs. The Journal of Men’s Studies, 18(3), 268–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ryan, W. (1972). How to blame the victim. New York, NY: Random House.Google Scholar
  23. Sampson, R. (2002). Acquaintance rape of college students: Problem-oriented guides for police series. Report No. 17 Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved from:
  24. Sanday, P. R. (2007). Fraternity gang rape: Sex, brotherhood, and privilege on campus. New York, NY: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Schwartz, M. D., & Leggett, M. S. (1999). Bad dates or emotional trauma? The aftermath of campus sexual assault. Violence Against Women, 5(3), 251–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Valenti, J. (2008). He’s a stud, she’s a slut and 49 other double standards every woman should know. Berkeley, CA: Seal Press.Google Scholar
  27. Warshaw, R. (1994). I never called it rape: The Ms. report on recognizing, fighting and surviving date and acquaintance rape. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Maryland, College ParkCollege ParkUSA
  2. 2.Westminster CollegeSalt Lake CityUSA

Personalised recommendations