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

Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgments

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.

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Correspondence to Nicole Bedera.

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Bedera, N., Nordmeyer, K. “Never Go Out Alone”: An Analysis of College Rape Prevention Tips. Sexuality & Culture 19, 533–542 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12119-015-9274-5

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Keywords

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