Women's Responses to Sexual Aggression: The Effects of Childhood Trauma, Alcohol, and Prior Relationship

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Abstract

This study examined effects of alcohol consumption (control, moderate dose, high dose) and type of relationship (new, established) on women's responses to escalating male sexual aggression. The role of childhood trauma was also examined. After consuming a beverage, participants (N = 220) projected themselves into a story portraying a social interaction with a man that depicted escalating sexual aggression. The story was paused 3 times to assess assertive, polite, and passive resistance as well as consent. Alcohol consumption increased consent and interacted with type of relationship to increase passive resistance and with level of sexual aggression to increase polite resistance. Assertive resistance increased and other responses decreased as the man's sexual aggression escalated. Childhood trauma lowered consent initially and increased passive resistance when rape was threatened.

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