College victims of sexual assault at higher risk for reoccurrence

Aug 29, 2014

There is more reason for women on college campuses to protect themselves from sexual assaults. A new study out of the University at Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions says female college students of past sexual assaults at a much higher risk to become victims again. In this Focus on Education report, WBFO's Eileen Buckley talks to the principal investigator of the study.

UB's South Campus in Buffalo.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

"I don't care if she's passed out drunk. I don't care if she's walking naked down the street.  It's never her fault for being victimized," said Kathleen Parks, Senior Research Rcientist with UB at RIA. 

The results of this study say a campus female who was the victim of a past sexual assaults is three times more likely to have it happen again.

"And then other thing that we found -- when we look at the temporal relationship...we do find that.drinking predicts victimization on a daily level," noted Parks. 

This study followed nearly one-thousand  college women mainly 18 to 21-years of age over a five year period. That included their drinking habits as well as  experiences of severe physical and sexual assault.

Kathleen Parks, Senior Research Scientist with UB's Research Institute on Addictions.
Credit Photo from UB

"So I think what it highlights for us is looking out for those women the first couple of years is really important. Those are the years when they are most vulnerable," said Parks. 

UB student Megan Messer.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

During a recent visit to UB's South Campus in Buffalo WBFO News spoke with second student Megan Messer about freshman arriving on campus and drinking too much.

"It is very scary and I mean, that is definitely something undergrad, grad school -- you know you're going to party and you're going to see bad things happening. It's scary, but you've just got to look out for your friends," said Messer.  

With the recent spotlight on campus assaults, Parks said this study shows campuses must be aware of the increased risk.
Despite the findings, Parks noted the study found that severe sexual victimization decreased across the years in college.