Assessing the Efficacy of the Protective Action-Completion Nexus for Sexual Victimizations

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Research has shown that protective actions are often used by rape victims, and some actions, namely, forceful physical resistance, are more effective in preventing a completed rape than other types of actions, such as nonforceful verbal resistance. The research is less clear, however, on the extent to which women who are victims of nonrape sexual victimization use protective measures and on the effectiveness of these actions. There is also uncertainty on the nature of the relationship between different types of protective actions, contextual characteristics, and the likelihood of completion of nonrape sexual victimization incidents. To investigate these issues, we used data from a national-level study of 4,446 female college students. Our results indicate that the use of protective action varied across type of sexual victimization and that the effectiveness of these actions on reducing the risk of a completed act is differentially related to type of sexual victimization. The findings suggest the need for sexual victimization prevention and education programs to include information regarding the efficacy of protective actions in both rape and nonrape incidents.

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