How does it end? Women project the outcome of a sexual assault scenario

  • Masters N
  • Norris J
  • Stoner S
 et al. 
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Abstract

Content and thematic analyses were used to examine women's written responses to a hypothetical attempted sexual assault. A community sample (N = 371) participated in an experiment examining the effects of alcohol on sexual assault resistance. Women received a high-dose alcohol, low-dose alcohol, placebo, or control beverage and then projected themselves into a dating scenario culminating in an attempted sexual assault. Participants wrote their own endings to the story, which were analyzed qualitatively. Content analysis found that verbal and physical assertiveness were the most frequently described actions; calling out for help was less frequent. Three major themes emerged from story endings: gendered sexuality, interpersonal concerns, and empowerment. Findings included contrasting elements: Women's projected outcomes to the sexual assault scenario involved both traditional and alternative sexual scripts. Results supported the position that the current social construction of heterosexuality plays a role in high acquaintance sexual assault rates. Implications for developing effective antirape programs and for sexual assault research are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA ) (journal abstract)

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