Campus Rape Culture: Effects on Individual, Social, and Administrative Levels




Phillips, Taylor

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“Rape culture” can be defined as the perpetuation of rape myths, sexual objectification of women, male sexual violence, and victim shaming. The purpose of this literature review is to investigate several factors that contribute to the perpetuation of rape culture across American college campuses and its impact on sexual assault survivors, perpetrators, and college administration. Female college students are one of the most vulnerable demographic groups regarding sexual assault; recent studies report that about one-fifth to one-third of female college students experience sexual assault during their time at a university. A sexual assault experience can prove physically and emotionally damaging to survivors. Additionally, academic performance and social relationships can be negatively impacted by a sexual assault experience, especially when survivors face negative social reactions and inadequate support from university resources. College-age perpetrators of sexual assault appear to share several characteristics with one another (i.e. psychopathic tendencies, specific coercion tactics, rape supportive attitudes), suggesting that some male college students are more likely to commit sexual assault. The perpetuation of rape culture across college campuses ultimately leads to a severe underreporting of rape incidents and widespread misinformation regarding sexual assault. Universities should require bystander intervention training to educate students about sexual assault, increase awareness of university procedures regarding sexual assault investigations, and change the current attitude toward sexual assault survivors and perpetrators.

Keywords: sexual assault, rape culture, college



Campus Sexual Assault, Rape Culture