Purpose Sexual violence (SV) is a significant public health concern with substantial economic and psychosocial tolls on both individuals and communities. Among adults in the United States, an estimated 19.3% of females and 1.7% of males experience rape, and 43.9% of females and 23.4% of males experience other types of sexual violence. Previous work suggests that risk for sexual violence perpetration onset increases during adolescence, and the majority of SV survivors are first victimised before age 25. Consequently, understanding the context in which sexual violence perpetration occurs among emerging adults (ages 18–25) is critical for developing effective multi-level intervention and prevention strategies.
Methods A large national sample of 18–25 year olds is currently being recruited via advertisements appearing on Instagram and Facebook to complete an anonymous, online questionnaire about event-based characteristics of sexual violence perpetration. Survey items will inquire about participants’ own history of perpetrating three types of sexual violence (completed/attempted nonconsensual sex, incapacitated sex) against someone and whether they know someone who has completed/attempted nonconsensual sex. For each endorsed perpetration type, participants will receive event-specific questions about their most recent perpetration experience, including incident characteristics (e.g., location, relationship to victim), substance use within two hours of the incident, perpetration motives and tactics used.
Results Analyses will highlight: prevalence rates for each SV type; demographic characteristics of perpetrators; and similarities/differences between SV types regarding incident characteristics, perpetration motives and tactics used.
Significance By illuminating multiple intervention points in the sequence of events leading up to completed sexual violence incidents, our results can inform the development of tailored perpetrator-focused prevention programs that account for the real-world context in which sexual violence occurs.