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Institutional betrayal magnifies post-trauma effects of unwanted sexual activity
Date:3/8/2013

policies to both prevent and respond to sexual assaults," Freyd said. "This is a national problem. The findings at this one university reach well beyond it, and, we believe, are consistent with what would be found at universities across the country."

Originally, the study pool included 514 male and female students, who were unaware of the project's topic. The subject matter was disguised to avoid students' self-selecting into the research. Only experiences of the women, whose average age was 19.67, were included in the analysis.

The unwanted sexual experiences noted in the study were drawn from a 12-point scale in which higher scores involved verbal, physical and alcohol/drug coercion. Also included were unwanted sexual experiences without overt coercion but that involved sexual partners whose insistence or arousal led to the women feeling unable to prevent intercourse. On average, women reported three instances of unwanted sexual experiences.

An institution's role in such abuse if often indirect and occurs around individual acts of sexual violence, the authors wrote. It is within these large institutions where individuals expect to be safe.

The Institutional Betrayal Questionnaire created by Smith and Freyd surveys situations within organizational settings: experience seemed like no big deal; experience seemed more likely; not taking proactive steps; making it difficult to report an experience; covering up the experience, responding inadequately; and punishing you in some way. Victims responded to each item using a seven-point scale. The tool measure a participant's experience rather than underlying traits.

The experiences of institutional betrayal did not differ significantly across the types of unwanted sexual involvement, supporting the notion that institutional betrayal is an independent construct rather than an indicator of the perceived severity of an experience, the authors wrote in their conclusion. Those reporti
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Contact: Jim Barlow
jebarlow@uoregon.edu
541-346-3481
University of Oregon
Source:Eurekalert  

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