Hypothetical assault : why Whitman male bodied victims of assault may not be reporting
Ryan Ross Lee Witherspoon
May 9, 2018
Department or Program
College male assault victims remain heavily under-researched despite an increasingly growing discourse on college campus assault (Fedina et al. 2016). Male and female victims are known to report assault for different reasons and still there remains a gap in sociological literature for male bodied college assault victims (McLean 2013). Whitman College and colleges like it strive to provide a safe learning environment free from the effects of sexual misconduct. In order to do so, understanding male bodied assault victims is key. If Whitman seeks to assist all students, they need to understand the differences between male bodied victims and female bodied victims so that they can assist each accordingly. This thesis aims to expand research and discourse on male sexual assault on college campuses as well as find tangible ways to encourage male victims at Whitman to report their assault. A survey that evaluated Whitman College male bodied students’ willingness to report hypothetical assaults was distributed and aimed to answer two questions "At Whitman College, how does male bodiedness affect willingness to report sexual assault?" and "How do male bodied individuals change their willingness to report according to the biological sex of perpetrator, signs of resistance, and the type of assault committed?". The study found that male bodiedness caused Whitman College students to hypothetically not report for four reasons: self-victim blaming, shame and embarrassment, a need to be perceived as strong, and distrust towards Whitman College. The study also found that biological male perpetrators, signs of resistance, and penetrative sex gave male bodied Whitman students more cause to report the vignettes. Suggestions for solutions are provided at the end.