Date of Graduation

8-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Community Health Promotion (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Health, Human Performance and Recreation

Advisor

Kristen N. Jozkowski

Committee Member

Jacquelyn Wiersma-Mosley

Second Committee Member

Heather Blunt-Vinti

Third Committee Member

Mindy Bradley

Keywords

Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Rape, Sexual assault, Sexual violence

Abstract

Background. Previous research finds that (1) lesbian and bisexual (LB) women as well as gay and bisexual (GB) men have higher rates of rape victimization compared to their heterosexual (H) peers and (2) perceived familial support reduces the impact of some of rape’s negative health outcomes in heterosexual victims. However, specific contextual factors regarding rape and assessment of familial support for LGB victims are severely lacking. Also, measurements of sexual assault victimization have yet to be validated in this population.

Methodology. The current study used a mixed-methods design that included two phases of data collection. Phase 1 was a national sample online survey of LBH women (n = 1,295). Phase 2 was a convenience sample online survey of LBH women and GBH men; data collection for Phase 2 is ongoing. Prevalence rates were calculated using a modified form of the Sexual Experience Survey – Short Form Revised (SES-SFV).

Results. In Manuscript 1, 63% of B women, 49% of L women, and 35% of H women reported experiencing rape in their lifetime. LB women had increased odds of victimization (B only) and re-victimization (L and B) compared to H women. H women reported more family support than LB women, but when victimization status was controlled for, all women reported equal levels of family support. In Manuscript 2, all nonconsensual behaviors and nearly all perpetration tactics in the original SES-SFV emerged inductively in our qualitative data. Using quantitative data, LB victims endorsed each perpetration tactic in the SES-SFV at comparable rates to H victims. However, the original SES-SFV did not capture some common experiences that participants described in their open-ended narratives.

Conclusion.

In Manuscript 1, some contextual factors of sexual violence differed between LBH women while others were the same across sexual orientation. Yet, sexual orientation clearly played a role in sexual violence risk given it had the strongest relationship with victimization status compared to all other demographic characteristics. In Manuscript 2, the SES-SFV satisfactorily assessed sexual assault and rape experiences in LBH women. Possible additions and deletions to the SES-SFV are presented alongside discussion of managing comprehensiveness and participant fatigue.