Resistance to Sexual Assault

Who Resists and What Happens?

Published in: American Journal of Public Health, v. 79, no. 1, Jan. 1989, p. 27-31

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 1988

by Judith M. Siegel, Susan B. Sorenson, Jacqueline M. Golding, M. Audrey Burnam, Judith Stein

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To determine who resists sexual assault and what happens, data were examined from a probability sample of 3,132 adult community residents of Los Angeles, California. Seventy-five per cent of the respondents reporting an assault (n = 365) indicated that they had attempted to resist their most recent assault; talking was the most frequently used resistance strategy. The strongest predictor to emerge in the multivariate analyses of resistance was timing of assault: respondents assaulted only in childhood were less likely to resist than either respondents assaulted only in adulthood, or respondents assaulted in both phases. Univariate analyses indicated that resistance reduced the probability of sexual contact, however multivariate analyses suggested that assailant use of force was the most important determinant of assault outcome.

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