Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Sexual and Physical Violence: Do Women's Perceptions Fit the Facts?

Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Sexual and Physical Violence: Do Women's Perceptions Fit the Facts?

Article excerpt

Patricia Hughes, Berry College

The purpose of the study was to determine university women's perceptions of fear, likelihood, and confidence about sexual and physical victimization by strangers and known persons. At stake in the current study was the premise upon which most martial art and self-defense training programs are built: if women learn to physically defend themselves against strangers, then they will be safe. Data was collected on 564 university women (m = 20.5 yr) enrolled at a major southern university. Participants completed the recently validated Perceptions of Dangerous Situations Scale (PDSS) and demographic information. Utilized in the current investigation were four PDSS items relating to physical assault and rape by strangers and known assailants. On a 5-point Likert scale, with 1 being almost none, to 5 being almost complete, women rated how fearful they were of each situation, the likelihood of the event happening to them in the next year, and their confidence to manage each situation successfully. Participants reported greater fear of stranger rape (M = 4.14) and stranger attack (M = 3.45) than being raped (M = 3.42) or being beaten up (M = 2.44) by someone they knew. Women perceived the likelihood of stranger rape (M = 2. …

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