What factors are linked to a more dangerous college environment?
Sexual victimization on college campuses may be more or less likely depending on institutional characteristics of the school such as size, type (public or private), sex ratio, selectivity, and percentage of students involved in Greek life (fraternities and sororities). A new study examining the roles these factors play in the risk of attempted forced intercourse, unwanted sex, and drug- and alcohol-facilitated sexual assault is published in Violence and Gender.
Stephen Cranney, Baylor University (Waco, TX), author of the article "Dangerous Colleges: Associations Between School-Level Factors and the Risk of Sexual Victimization of Female Students," reports a significant association between both a larger size student body and being a public college with greater risk of physically forced rape. Interestingly, the association of Greek membership with physically forced rape was opposite at an individual versus an institutional level.
"Sexual assault is a serious problem on college campuses, but do all colleges and universities pose the same threats to students, or are some colleges more dangerous than others because of their specific demographics?" asks Violence and Gender Editor-in-Chief Mary Ellen O'Toole, PhD, Director, Forensic Sciences, George Mason University (Fairfax, VA), Forensic Behavioral Consultant, and Senior FBI Profiler/Criminal Investigative Analyst (ret.). "This is critical information to know, for students, faculty, administrators, and parents, not only in an effort to customize the right safety plan for each college, but to design targeted awareness programs for their specific student body based on the unique risk level of their university. Sexual assault programs on college and university campuses are not a one-size-fits-all effort."