Campus News Banner


Survey to Address Victimization of Women

Contact: Kathy Johnson

 

""

The research team includes 15 faculty who have specific expertise in crime, victimization, rape, domestic violence, and related research areas. While participants’ identities will be protected, data from the survey will be shared with university administration, UK Police, counselors, and others who work with students and work to make a safe environment at UK.

""

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 2, 2003) -- The University of Kentucky President’s Commission on Women, Division of Student Affairs, and Center for Research on Violence Against Women are planning a joint project dealing with the sexual, physical and stalking victimization of women. Female students at the university will be surveyed anonymously to determine prevalence and incidence rates, risk factors, and attitudes and perceptions concerning victimization.

“The idea of this survey took root in the work of the President’s Commission on Women and derives from our interest in ensuring the health and safety of women on this campus,” said Dorothy Brockopp, chair of the President’s Commission on Women.

Carol Jordan, director of the Center for Research on Violence Against Women, said the survey would gauge victimization that may have occurred at any time in a student’s life, including her time at UK.

“Our interest is in looking at how many young women at this university have had an experience of victimization and the way in which that experience has impacted their lives,” Jordan said.

In addition to learning how often victimization occurs, the interdisciplinary research team for the project also plans to analyze the data to learn the circumstances associated with victimization, such as where incidents occur most often and who is involved. This will help identify the risk factors for victimization.

“That kind of contextualized information can be used by the university to develop prevention and intervention programs to reduce the incidence of victimization or to mitigate its effects,” Jordan said.

Although recent sexual abuse and assault cases reported at UK have involved attackers unknown to their victims, Jordan said in general, research suggests that the majority of cases of physical, stalking and sexual victimization of women are perpetrated by people known to the women, such as acquaintances, boyfriends or husbands.

Another aspect of the survey will measure the attitudes and perceptions of women students, including their fear of becoming crime victims. Jordan said not only are some young women affected by the direct experience of victimization, research suggests that the fear of becoming a crime victim can also influence the life of a woman. She gave an example of a female student who may be less likely to walk across campus alone at night to study at the library because she is fearful of harm.

“It is our interest to assess the fear of crime experienced by female students and how that fear manifests itself in their educational attainment, interpersonal relationships, and their physical and mental health,” Jordan said.

The Campus Victimization Survey will be led by Jordan and Pam Wilcox, associate professor of sociology; a team of researchers from departments across the university; and the UK Survey Research Center.

“UK is extremely fortunate to have a wealth of interdisciplinary research expertise on the topic of victimization, and strong support from administrators to address this problem for female students at the university,” Jordan said. The research team includes 15 faculty who have specific expertise in crime, victimization, rape, domestic violence, and related research areas. While participants’ identities will be protected, data from the survey will be shared with university administration, UK Police, counselors, and others who work with students and work to make a safe environment at UK.

“The safety and well-being of our students are of utmost concern to us in Student Affairs, and I believe research in the area of female victimization can help us learn more about these issues and how to make improvements in the campus environment if indeed the study indicates that need,” said Patricia Terrell, vice president for Student Affairs.

The Survey Research Center will conduct the telephone survey of female students who reside on and off campus during the spring semester.


Back to Campus News Homepage