The gender wage gap, which currently stands at 77 cents on the dollar for women compared to men, is a national problem, with women often making up the majority of the workforce, but also many being sexually assaulted.
Now, according to a study published this week in the Journal of Research in Personality, there may be an even greater gender gap in college sexual assault, with many women experiencing the onset of sexual activity between the ages of 13 and 18.
“I think this study provides a pretty clear picture of what we have in the United States in terms of college sexual assaults,” said University of Wisconsin-Madison associate professor of psychology and the study’s lead author, Amy Cramer.
Cramer’s research focused on a large number of sexual assault survivors in their early 20s, and asked them to write about their experience of sexual violence.
In a study titled “A Gender-Based Explanation of Sexual Assault in Early College,” she and her colleagues found that college sexual harassment survivors are also more likely to experience sexual assault and assault perpetration, including rape.
“There’s no one right answer for why these things happen,” Cramer said.
“There are probably many different factors that contribute to them, and they vary across genders, ages, race, ethnicities, and different ethnic backgrounds.”
While the researchers say the gender gap is significant, it’s not entirely clear why it occurs.
Cannon says the study found a link between a variety of factors, including socioeconomic status and experience with sexual assault.
One of the main contributing factors is that college students with higher socioeconomic status are more likely than their less advantaged counterparts to be sexually assaulted, she said.
But Cramer believes the link between socioeconomic status, experience with assault, and college sexual violence can’t be directly attributed to any one factor, as it’s dependent on the experience of each individual.
For Cramer, the link is between her work with sexual violence survivors and her own experiences with sexual harassment.
She describes being harassed while attending college and has since become a sexual assault survivor herself.
In addition to being sexually harassed in her undergraduate years, Cramer says her harasser used her position as a female administrator at a university to harass her.
She eventually quit her job, but she was harassed for a long time after, and she eventually felt the need to leave her university, where she was a student.
“In college, I was raped, I have been raped, and I am going to graduate and live in a world where it’s a criminal offense for a woman to say no to an unwanted sexual advances,” Cramer said.
“But that doesn’t happen in my world.
In my world, it happens because I am a woman.”
The researchers found that a lot of these college sexual misconduct survivors reported that they felt like they were not protected by the university, or were being blamed by the perpetrator.
“When I came to that realization, it really set in my mind,” Crams said.
The researchers said there are several things to consider when examining sexual assault statistics, including how to interpret the numbers.
For one thing, sexual assault is a very common problem, they said.
But it’s also difficult to tell whether the sexual assault was consensual or not, or whether the assault was an isolated incident or part of a larger pattern.
Cramer says the number of victims is much higher when you compare college students to college workers, because workers often do not report sexual assault in the same way that college undergraduates do.
But, she also noted, the researchers found college students reported experiencing sexual assault at a rate of 10 to 14 times higher than workers.
In the future, Cramers hopes to develop better tools for sexual assault victims to report their experiences.
She also hopes that college campuses can use the research to identify factors that are related to higher rates of sexual harassment, like a lack of support, discrimination, and a lack in education, and to provide more resources to victims of sexual misconduct.
“College is a place where you can make decisions about how you are going to behave and how you’re going to be,” Cramid said.