Campus sexual assault can cost victims their academics

ANI | Updated: Sep 07, 2017 02:48 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Sep 7 (ANI): Campus sexual violence not only causes a considerable number of physical and emotional issues for the victims, but also can adversely affect their academics">academics, according to a recent study.

"We know from counselors and advocates that school work suffers for these students, but there hasn't been a large body of research that helps support and sustain the important programs on campus to help these victims," said lead author Victoria Banyard.

Banyard added that when it comes to discussions about helping address specific issues for these students, there is much more research about services that help victims with emotional stressors than research to document academic ones.

The study found that students who experienced sexual violence on campus had significantly lower academic efficacy, higher stress, lower institutional commitment and lower scholastic conscientiousness than other students.

Researchers used questionnaires to survey 6,482 students (men and women) from eight universities in New England. They identified stressors around four areas of sexual violence; unwanted sexual contact, unwanted sexual intercourse, intimate partner violence, and stalking.

The study measured four academic outcomes that are important for college success and that might be impacted by sexual violence including academic efficacy, collegiate stress, institutional commitment, and scholastic conscientiousness. Overall, there were significant findings for three of the four forms of victimization, across all four of the academic measures.

Past studies show approximately 19 to 25 percent of women will experience attempted or complete rape while enrolled in college and approximately 20 to 50 percent of students will experience intimate partner violence during their college years. Sexually victimized students, before or during college, are more likely to drop classes, change residences and have lower GPAs. Because of that, universities are increasingly being confronted with the question of how to attend to the needs of these students.

"We hope this study will better help universities and counselors devote resources to programs that will help victims physically, mentally, and also academically," said co-author Ellen Cohn. "Universities strive to offer a higher education to their students and when violence like this happens, it affects their overall mission."

The study appears in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence. (ANI)

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