Physical dating violence, sexual violence, and unwanted pursuit victimization: A comparison of incidence rates among sexual-minority and heterosexual college students.

An investigation into the number of sexual assaults, physical dating violence, and unwanted sexual pursuits among sexual minority college students.


Summary: Among eight universities in the New England area, 6,030 students participated in a study that compared the incidence of sexual violence among sexual minority students (individuals reporting any same-sex sexual experiences) to heterosexual college students. Participants were recruited using emails sent to the entire undergraduate student body.  The sample population was largely female (65.9%), Caucasian (92.7%), and reported exclusively heterosexual experiences (82.3%). Most of the subjects were equally dispersed with 27.5% freshmen, 23.1% sophomores, 24.1% juniors, and 25.3% seniors. Sexual minority students reported significantly higher incidence rates of physical domestic violence and unwanted sexual pursuit victimization over the six month time period. Both sexual-minority men and sexual minority students reported similar rates of victimization; however, female sexual minority students reported significantly higher rates of physical domestic violence then heterosexual female students.


Application/Evaluation: Sexual violence interventions have largely focused on heterosexual violence on college campuses. This study reveals the need to examine risk factors among sexual minority students. 


Limitations: The study sample was primarily homogenous, which was not representative of the general population. Additionally, students who reported homosexual only behaviors were not examined separately from individuals reporting both heterosexual and homosexual experiences. 

Edwards, K. M., Sylaska, K. M., Barry, J. E., Moynihan, M. M., Banyard, V. L., Cohn, E. S., ... & Ward, S. K.
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Journal of Interpersonal Violence
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