College Campus Sexual Assault

College Campus Sexual Assault
















College Campus Sexual Assault

The issue of sexual assault particularly in college campuses has become prevalent. Over time, the frequencies within which such incidences have been taking place have illustrated the extent to which sexual assault is rife in most universities and colleges. On a report released by the White House concerning the rate of sexual assault, it is alleged that one in 5 women on college campus has undergone sexual assault during their stay there. Despite this, this rate may actually represent a lower estimate of the actual female population that encounters sexual assaults in campuses. Accordingly, most of the victims fail to report the assaults that they face to law enforcement personnel. Sexual assault is a consistent issue within most college campuses based in the United States. Irrespective of the policies established to condone the issue, it seems as if diminutive effects have been posed on the positive mitigation of sexual assault within colleges and universities. In a much deeper context, the prevalence of sex-based violence against women in campuses represents a long-standing concern of victimization within the overall society. Even though male students are also exposed to sexual assaults, the rate at which women are susceptible to sex-based violence is considerable with men accounting for only 17 percent of the reported cases within the past year. As such, this disparity in numbers exudes the degree to which violence and sexual assault against women has become a norm within the society. In this case, the study will focus on answering certain research questions in relation to the provided literature:

  1. Are sexual assault incidences on college campuses on the rise or has awareness just increased?
  2. What can we do as a nation to reduce cases of sexual assault on college campuses?
  3. What can a person do to reduce their risk of being sexually assaulted on college campuses?
  4. How can you get involved as a college advocate and help others?

Literature Review

It is evident that the incidences based on sexual assault in college campuses have been on the rise over time. College and university campuses have been aware of the issue regarding sexual assault for nearly 20 years (Armstrong, Hamilton, & Sweeney, 2006). As such, resources have been directed at enabling the prevention and provision of services to persons who have encountered sexual assault within their period in campus. The distribution of resources towards mitigation of the issue also illustrates an increase in the awareness of the problem. With the media operating as a viable source for information dissemination, various programs and infomercials have been developed in an attempt to raise the issue on sexual assault within college and university campuses. Furthermore, the respective situation has extended towards the government with policy makers developing and allocating measures of prevention and awareness to students and faculty members alike within these particular higher-education institutions.

Sexual Assault as a Factor of Gender Inequality

Nonetheless, why are campuses hazardous places for attending females regardless of the efforts initiated in prevention and raising awareness concerning sexual assault? Even though it is arguable that knowledge of such a problem is prevalent, the rise of such crimes indicates that the information available is insufficient and therefore, ineffective to rid campuses of the issue. Hence, delving on to the problem on a sociological basis, sexual assault is more of a result that derives from an interaction of gender processes taking place at organizational, personal, and interactional levels (Gidycz, McNamara, & Edwards, 2006). Simply, the issue of sexual assault in college and university campuses illustrates an interaction of different situations that exude concerns based on gender inequality. Eventually, such inequalities evolve when homogenous students gather within an institution guided by this particular norm and establish a culture that is particularly aggressive to women.

The Theories of Socialization and Social Learning: Sexual Assault as a Norm

The sociological aspect of gender inequality further provides a profound depiction of negative impacts arising from institutionalized social norms. In the theory of socialization, social norms tend to comprise verbal descriptions of fixed courses of action deemed as desirable and integrated with an injunction that establishes certain future actions in conformity to the respective course (Bicchieri & Chavez, 2010). Simply, norms assume an imperative role in personal choice by modifying individual preferences, actions, and needs. Additionally, such norms serve as prerequisites for choosing among alternatives and are therefore, mutually shared by a respective community, and embody a general value structure. The campus society is a fair example of a community ruled or governed by norms of gender inequality. These norms further express the aggressive tendencies among male sex offenders within college campuses as well as their attitudes regarding attending females.

Interestingly, the social learning theory correlates with the conjecture on socialization, specifically on the issue of sexual assault among women within campus. Even though the socialization premise establishes institutionalized social norms as a key contributing factor towards the prevalence of sex-based violence, the social learning theory further explicates this. Accordingly, the theory asserts that identification and association with male peer cohorts reinforces specific behaviors that may seem socially desirable and proper based on the group and regardless of the criminal aspect of such behaviors (Bicchieri & Xiao, 2009; Pratt et al. 2010). Hence, in the context of sexual assault, males in campuses are more inclined to engage in sexual assault since the norms arising from gender inequality coerces/influences them to conform to such behavior. Moreover, identification with other males within the campus context influences the cycle of sexual assault in which the offenders perceive it as an act ordained by institution and their respective peers despite its illegality.

Research Findings

Since sexual assault is a recursive cycle, actions based on reducing its frequency on a nationwide basis should focus on first resolving the root of its problem, which mainly involves long standing gender gaps. Norms of gender inequality have encouraged instances of sexual aggression against women by men. This coercion has been attributed to certain values based on conventional sex-role notions that amount to ideologies founded on gender inequality (Garett-Gooding & Senter Jr., 2007). Aside from these notions, college-attending women have also encountered instances of physical sexual coercion arising from attitudes based on the respective ideologies (Garett-Gooding & Senter Jr., 2007). With this, it is evident that sexual assault is an issue that has been complicatedly derived from foundations of gender disparity within the society. Therefore, as a nation, efforts geared towards the reduction of sexual assault cases should first concentrate on addressing the overall notion of gender gaps within the fabric of the community.

Nonetheless, addressing the issue of gender inequality may foremost revert to the responsibilities that the individual, especially the female, has to assume in personal protection from sexual assault in college campuses. In this respect, women are required to be aware of the risks that their respective settings pose on their sexual wellbeing. This is mostly based on the notion that higher rates of sexual assault are usually recurrent due to the influence of alcohol use especially in campus parties. Hence, borrowing from the premise of social learning and socialization, the gathering of homologous students with anticipations of partying nurtures the progression of sexualized peer mores based on status (Franklin, 2010). Residential arrangements increase students’ desires of partying within male-based fraternities. Furthermore, cultural anticipations that party-attendees consume significant amounts of alcohol and place trust on their mates become awkward in instances when integrated with expectations that females be welcoming and submit to men.


In conclusion, the issue of sexual assault is a complex subject. Despite efforts to lessen it, the act has continued for more than 20 years. Viewing it on a sociological basis, the persistence of sexual assault can finally be understood in light of the wider element of gender inequality. Undeniably, the consistency of gender inequality in the American society contributes significantly to the occurrence of sexual assaults particularly on women attending college and university campuses. Hence, regardless of efforts to prevent the act from taking place, the rates of sexual assault will continue to increase due to superior evidences of gender inequality across all aspects of society, even those foremost in leading the front against this respective issue.

The aspect of gender inequality further elucidates the recurrence of sexual assault with derivations arising from the theories of socialization and the social learning premise. Primarily, the theory of socialization advocates for social norms as institutions. Hence, in relation to the issue, the recurrence of sexual assault in campuses is largely attributed to norms, which influence people into committing particular acts and possessing certain viewpoints regarding women based on gender inequality. Additionally, the social learning theory focuses on males due to association with their peer groups. The respective premise views behavior as influenced by the ideals of peer support groups. Hence, for males within college campuses, norms of gender inequality coupled with group institutions influence them to engage in sexual violence despite its criminality.

Even though the study has been capable of answering reasons for the recurrence of sexual assault in college campuses, it has been incapable of asserting whether sexual violence against women can be mitigated successfully. This is particularly due to the influence of sociological theories, which advocate for the irrevocable nature of institutions such as norms and the influence of peer-support groups on the behaviors and mannerism of male students within college campuses. Nevertheless, one form of research that can be used to advance knowledge on this particular topic involves a deductive study. The study will establish certain propositions and correspondent conclusions. However, such suppositions will be challenged via research and eventually endorse novel information regarding the subject under study.


























Armstrong, E. A., Hamilton, L., & Sweeney, B. (2006). Sexual assault on campus: A multilevel, integrative approach to party rape. Social Problems, 53(4), 483-499.

Bicchieri, C., & Chavez, A. (2010). Behaving as expected: Public information and fairness norms. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 23(2), 161-178.

Bicchieri, C., & Xiao, E. (2009). Do the right thing: But only if others do so. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 22, 191-208.

Franklin, C. A. (2010). Physically forced, alcohol-induced, and verbally coerced sexual victimization: Assessing risk factors among university women. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 38, 263-285.

Garett-Gooding, J., & Senter Jr., R. (2007). Attitudes and acts of sexual aggression on a university campus. Sociological Inquiry, 57(4), 348-371.

Gidycz, C. A., McNamara, J. R., & Edwards, K. (2006). Women’s risk perception and sexual victimization: A review of the literature. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 11(5), 441-456.

Pratt, T. C., Cullen, F. T., Sellers, C. S., Winfree, L. T., Madensen, T., Daigie, L., & Gau, J. M. (2010). The empirical status of social learning theory: A meta-analysis. Justice Quarterly, 27, 765-802.

Pryor, D. W., & Hughes, M. R. (2013). Fear of rape among college women: A social psychological analysis. Violence and Victims, 28(3), 443-465.

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