Sexual coercion is a widespread issue in the United States. It is estimated that one in six women in the U.S. have been sexually coerced in their lifetime. While studies in the area have increased over the years, a major limitation in the current literature is the lack of racial and ethnic representation among victim samples, as the majority of sexual assault research overwhelmingly focuses on White women. Although there are different types of sexual coercion, this study focuses on verbal sexual coercion (VSC), a tactic less studied but used as often as other forms of intimidation. Studies suggest alcohol, drugs, race/ethnicity, and lifestyle are common predictors of sexual victimization. Yet, there is no indication that these patterns would persist with diverse samples or when examining verbal coercion. The purpose of this study is to predict the likelihood of VSC among a racial and ethnic diverse sample through the lens of Routine Activity Theory (RAT). RAT argues that crime is not random; for crime to occur, three elements must be present: motivated offenders, a suitable target, and the absence of guardianship. In essence, it is one's lifestyle that influences one's risks of being verbally coerced into sex. Logistic regression results indicate RAT can be used to predict VSC; however, the strength of that relationship varies by the race/ethnicity of the victim. It is crucial to consider race and ethnicity when examining the factors contributing to experiencing VSC. Future research should consider cultural norms and values when addressing sexual victimization among women of color.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Fernandez, Ketty, "Predicting The Likelihood of Verbal Coercion Across Race and Ethnicity Through Routine Activity Theory" (2022). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 1199.