A Measure to Assess Risk Factors for Sexual Coercion at Fraternity Parties
Mentor:Erika DeJonghe, Assistant Professor, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
In this study, we investigate the utility of the newly developed Fraternity Party Environment Scale (FPES), a survey instrument that assesses specific characteristics of fraternity parties, which prior qualitative research (Boswell & Spade, 1996) has suggested are associated with risk for sexually coercive behaviors. For example, the survey statement “Men treat women respectfully ” was developed from a statement in the literature, “Men attending parties at high-risk houses treated women less respectfully, engaging in jokes, conversations, and behaviors that degraded women.” Members of all-male fraternities (N= 136) rated their fraternity party experience hosted by their particular fraternity. They responded on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from (1) strongly disagree to (5) strongly agree. Participants were also asked to self-report perpetration of their sexually coercive behaviors on the Sexual Experiences Survey (Koss, Abbey, Campbell, Cook, Norris, Testa, Ullman, West, & White, 2007). Data collection is ongoing, but preliminary results suggest that risk factors at a fraternity party including men’s lack of respect toward women, unclean restrooms that women would use, men rating women’s bodies, men’s display of hyper-masculinity toward other men, men not having a girlfriend and being discouraged to do so, and men trying to make it easier to seduce women by spiking the “Jungle Juice,” are correlated with perpetration of sexually coercive behavior. This study supports past research which suggests that rapes occurring at some fraternity parties, are not solely the outcome of an individual’s behavior or natural inclinations, but rather are highly influenced by other set of general factors that must be considered.