Banyard, V. L., et al. (2010). "Friends of survivors: The community impact of unwanted sexual experiences." Journal of Interpersonal Violence 25(2): 242-256.
Since sexual assault survivors are most likely to disclose their experiences to a friend; prevention efforts increasingly focus on friends as informal helpers. The current study examined friends' perceptions of the disclosure experience. Undergraduates (N = 1,241) at the University of New Hampshire completed a shortened version of the Ahrens and Campbell (2000) Impact on Friends measure. Results found that about 1 in 3 female undergraduates and 1 in 5 male students were told by a friend that they were a victim of an unwanted sexual experience. Gender differences were found in friends' responses to disclosure. Women reported greater emotional distress in response to a friend's disclosure, greater positive responses and lesser-perceived confusion/ineffectiveness as compared to men. Implications include the need to develop specific and clear educational material to help the community cope with and effectively respond to unwanted sexual experiences on college campuses.
Dunn, P. C., et al. (1999). "What date/acquaintance rape victims tell others: a study of college student recipients of disclosure." J Am Coll Health 47(5): 213-219.
The authors surveyed 828 college students and found that approximately one third (n = 282) of the respondents reported that one or more women had told them that they had been raped by their dates or acquaintances. The 282 respondents who knew 1 or more victims of date/acquaintance rape reported on a total of 396 victims. The number of victims identified by respondents ranged from 1 to 3 or more (1 = 73%; 2 = 19%, 3 = 5%, > or = 4 = 3%). Reactions to disclosure offered by these respondents were generally supportive of the victim. The respondents' reactions suggested that there is a continuing need to educate students about the incidence and risks associated with date/acquaintance rape and the possibility of disclosure, particularly by friends or dating partners, and brought out some possible helpful and some counterproductive reactions to such disclosures.
Nicksa, S. C. (2012). "College students' self-predicted reactions to witnessing sexual assault: The impact of gender, community, bystander experience, and relationship to the victim." Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences 72(7-A): 2579.
This dissertation presents findings related to how college-aged bystanders would react if they witnessed a sexual assault at a typical college party. Using a hypothetical sexual assault vignette, a college-student sample (n=299) was asked to predict their willingness to intervene directly, indirectly, or request external help on behalf of a victim. Using gender, community, social learning, and relationship theories as a framework, this study focuses on the role that gender, sense of community, past experiences in bystander situations, and the nature of the victim-bystander relationship play in bystanders' predicted willingness to intervene. Regression analysis confirms that women are more willing to intervene in indirect or external manners, and that sense of community is not significantly related to willingness to intervene. Also, bystanders are more willing to intervene directly if they have had previous positive experiences intervening as a bystander, and are more likely to intervene directly on behalf of the victim if she is a roommate than if she is a stranger.
Sorenson, S. B., et al. (2014). "Knowing a sexual assault victim or perpetrator: a stratified random sample of undergraduates at one university." J Interpers Violence 29(3): 394-416.
Rape awareness and prevention programs are common on college campuses and a potentially useful way to reach large numbers of young adults. One largely unexamined potential mediator or moderator of program effectiveness is the personal knowledge of student audiences. In this study, we assess the prevalence of knowing a victim and, notably, a perpetrator of sexual assault. A stratified random sample of 2,400 undergraduates was recruited for an online survey about sexual assault. A total of 53.5% participated and yielded a sample representative of the student body. Sixteen questions were modified from the Sexual Experiences Survey to assess whether participants knew a victim of any one of eight types of sexual assault. Findings indicate that students begin college with considerable personal knowledge of sexual assault victimization and perpetration. Nearly two thirds (64.5%) reported that they know one or more women who were a victim of any one of eight types of sexual assault, and over half (52.4%) reported that they know one or more men who perpetrated any of the types of sexual assault. Most students reported knowing victims and perpetrators of multiple types of assault. Knowledge varied substantially by gender and ethnicity. Students' preexisting personal knowledge should be included in assessments of program effectiveness and, ideally, in program design.