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Self-Reported Sexual Assault in Convicted Sex Offenders and Community Men

Laura Widman, Michael A. Olson, and Rebecca M. Bolen

Journal of Interpersonal Violence

May 2013, vol. 28, no. 7, 1519-1536

 

Abstract

Although self-reported sexual assault perpetrated by men against women has been well documented among college men, less is known about self-reported perpetration among convicted sex offenders and community men. This study provides unique descriptive and comparative information on sexual assaults in these understudied populations. Participants were 40 convicted sex offenders and 49 demographically comparable community men who completed the Sexual Experiences Survey (SES; Abbey, Parkhill, & Koss, 2005; Koss, Gidycz, & Wisniewski, 1987) and other surveys to capture the promiscuous sex and hostile masculinity pathways posited by the confluence model (Malamuth, 2003). We found notably few differences between sex offenders and community men in the rate and severity of sexual assault perpetration and the tactics used to obtain unwanted sexual contact. Specifically, 68% of sex offenders and 59% of community men acknowledged they had perpetrated sexual assault. Both groups used guilt and anger as the most frequent tactics to obtain unwanted sexual activity from their female victims. Consistent with the confluence model, an impersonal orientation toward sexual relationships was associated with sexual assault for both sex offenders and community men. Future directions for research on sexual assault perpetration and violence prevention efforts are discussed in light of these findings.

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