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J Natl Black Nurses Assoc. 2008 Dec;19(2):35-41.

African-American college women's perceptions of resources and barriers when reporting forced sex.

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  • 1William F. Connell School of Nursing, Boston College, Boston, MA, USA.


Forced sex is both a public health and a social issue that affects many college women. Despite physical and mental health consequences and the multiple prevention programs on college campuses, most sexual violence goes unreported (Fisher, Daigle, Cullen, & Turner, 2003). The purpose of this research was to explore college women's perceptions of campus resources and to determine the perceived barriers to reporting sexual violence. After IRB approval, African-American women (N = 144) who attend a private college in the south completed a researcher-developed survey. Findings included percentages of reporting sexual violence to campus health, student services, and campus security. Significant factors that were associated with reporting sexual violence included having injuries, if they were drinking at the time, having a designated person on campus to handle sexual assault, having time to go to the authorities, and the perception of how one would be treated. Reporting of forced sex is necessary so that individuals have access to resources and support. Prevention strategies can include education that targets significant perceptions of resources and the elimination or minimization of barriers.

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