Prevalence of and risk factors for sexual victimization in college women in Chile.

Research paper by Jocelyn A JA Lehrer, Vivian L VL Lehrer, Evelyn L EL Lehrer, Pamela B PB Oyarzún

Indexed on: 08 Jan '08Published on: 08 Jan '08Published in: International family planning perspectives


To date, no quantitative studies have examined the prevalence or correlates of sexual violence among college students in Chile.An anonymous survey with questions on gender-based violence, demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, and childhood experiences with violence was administered to students at a major public university in Santiago. Descriptive statistics were generated to determine the prevalence and context of sexual victimization experienced by female students, and ordered logit models were used to identify associated risk factors.Nine percent of subjects reported that the most severe form of undesired sexual contact they had experienced since age 14 was rape; 6% indicated attempted rape and 16% another form of sexual victimization. Seventeen percent of subjects reported having experienced some form of undesired sexual contact in the past 12 months alone. Alcohol or other drugs had been used in most cases of rape or attempted rape, by the victim (6%), the perpetrator (9%) or both (56%). In four sequential models, factors associated with increased odds of victimization included low parental education (Model 1) and childhood sexual abuse (Models 3 and 4); the association between witnessing domestic violence and victimization attained marginal significance (Model 2). Attending religious services during adolescence was associated with reduced odds of victimization (Models 1 and 2). Childhood sexual abuse was the only factor associated with victimization when all variables were included.A substantial proportion of young women in the sample reported experiences of rape, attempted rape or other forms of forced sexual contact, indicating a need for further attention to this public health problem in Chile.