"Do Women Facilitate the Sexual Assault of Their Female Peers? A Single-Campus Survey Study"
Allyson B. Hopper, Brooke E. Campbell, Andrea A. Massa, Jenni E. Whalen, , Katherine W. Lang, Leigh A. Bryant, Nicole S. Shea, William F. Flack, Jr. and the Bucknell Sexual Assault Research Team
National studies indicate that between 20 and 25 percent of women have been sexually assaulted by the time they finish college. Although their male peers are responsible for perpetrating sexual assault, women often seem to engage in behaviors with their female peers that may increase those peers' risk of being assaulted. In the present study, we sought to determine how often college women, both Greek and Independent, engaged in behaviors that seem likely to increase their risk of sexual assault (referred to as "female facilitation"). Participants in this study were 373 female Bucknell students (sophomore through senior) who completed an online survey that included measures of sexual assault, alcohol consumption, and female facilitation. The female facilitation measure indexed both "facilitator" behaviors (behaviors directed toward others that likely increase their risk of sexual assault victimization) and "facilitatee" behaviors (behaviors engaged in that likely to increase risk of sexual assault victimization), and the two sets of items were counterbalanced across participants. Results demonstrated that the overall prevalence rate for any type of sexual assault was 44.2%. Total scores on the facilitator and facilitatee versions of the female facilitation measure were highly correlated. Facilitation was also highly correlated with alcohol consumption, and being on the receiving end of facilitation was moderately correlated with sexual assault. Greek status was significantly correlated with increased alcohol consumption and facilitation behaviors. Our results were consistent with some but not all of our expectations regarding the relationships among facilitation, alcohol consumption, sexual assault, and demographic variables. Limitations of the methods and the implications of our findings for understanding campus sexual assault will be discussed.