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NCJ Number: 202356 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Unraveling the Fear of Victimization Among College Women: Is the "Shadow of Sexual Assault Hypothesis" Supported?
Journal: Justice Quarterly  Volume:20  Issue:3  Dated:September 2003  Pages:633-659
Author(s): Bonnie S. Fisher; John J. Sloan III
Date Published: September 2003
Page Count: 27
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Washington, DC 20531
Grant Number: 93-IJ-CX-0049
Dataset: DATASET 1
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article explores the “shadow of sexual assault” thesis and the factors that heighten women’s age specific fear of rape.
Abstract: In face-to-face confrontations with offenders, women fear that a rape may occur and this fear “shadows” their fear of other forms of personal victimization that may not involve an actual or attempted rape or sexual assault. The shadow thesis advances the understanding of why women are more fearful than men of criminal victimization. No published study of fear of victimization among college students has explicitly tested the utility of the shadow thesis to explain women’s fear of victimization. Rape is the crime most feared by women, even more than the fear of being murdered. Younger women are at a greater risk of experiencing rape than are older women. This study tested whether the shadow thesis was supported in the campus domain and across temporal considerations. Data were taken from a larger project that examined the victimization experiences of a representative sample of 3,472 undergraduate and graduate students that were enrolled at 12 randomly selected 4 year colleges and universities in the United States during the 1993-94 academic year. Measures included ecological, neighborhood, demographic, and individual characteristics; direct-victimization measures; and perceived risk. Five dependent variables were used: fear of larceny/theft, fear of rape, and fear of three nonsexual violent crimes (robbery, simple assault, and aggravated assault during the day and at night). The results generally supported the shadow thesis. College women’s fear of rape was an inseparable companion to fear of other offenses while on campus during the day and at night. Women’s fear of rape shadowed their fear of other offenses, principally those involving face-to-face contact between victims and offenders. The results showed strong relationships (regardless of age) between perceived risk of rape and fear of rape among college women, and that increased levels of constrained behavior significantly enhanced the fear of rape. 4 tables, 6 footnotes, 23 references, appendix
Main Term(s): Fear of crime; Sexual assault
Index Term(s): Females; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Public Opinion of Crime; Rape; Sex offenses; Students
Note: Dataset may be archived by the NIJ Data Resources Program at the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data
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