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Trauma Violence Abuse. 2017 Jan 1:1524838017742385. doi: 10.1177/1524838017742385. [Epub ahead of print]

Violence Against International Students: A Critical Gap in the Literature.

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1 Department of Sociology, Center for Research on Violence Against Women, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA.


Despite the growing trend on college campuses to increase their international student body, this population is largely left out of research due to the complexity they bring to the research process compared to their domestic counterparts. This is particularly true for the existing research on campus sexual violence; thus, there is no research-based indication that international students, let alone international graduate students, would face victimization risks on campus in the same way the extant literature identifies for domestic undergraduates. The existing research on international students indicates that their experiences are different than their domestic counterparts, and the sparse literature on graduate students indicates their experiences are different from their undergraduate counterparts. A specific focus on the intersection of these two identities, international graduate students, is almost completely absent from the literature. This research review highlights key research that provides foundational knowledge for the experience of international students and international graduate students with regard to their vulnerability to sexual violence. The author organizes the extant literature into three major areas that inform the overarching research topic: (1) international student experiences, (2) victimization, and (3) campus culture. Basic findings indicate that there are limitations in extrapolating previous research findings on campus sexual violence to this population, calling for a need to focus specifically and intentionally on this population of students. The objective of this article is to review the current state of knowledge about the risk and vulnerability of international students to sexual violence and victimization and to address the directions for future research.


cultural contexts; domestic violence; perceptions of domestic violence; sexual assault; situational factors


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