Attitudes and Acts of Sexual Aggression on a University Campus*


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    We are happy to acknowledge a number of people who have been extremely helpful in this research. Bernard N. Meltzer, John W. Petras, Larry T. Reynolds, and Mary Scheuer Senter, all of Central Michigan University, generously provided advice, suggestions, encouragement, and critical readings during the course of this research. James Hill, Vice President of Student Affairs at C. M. U., aided us with financial support for this project and arranged for his staff to give us much-needed secretarial support. We are grateful to all of these individuals for their assistance.


There is increasing understanding of the widespread extent of men's physical sexual coercion of women in this society. In this study, we document the amount of that coercion among a sample of college students. We try to explain that coercion in terms of certain valucs (traditional sex-role conceptions that amount to an ideology of gender inequality). We also try to explain that coercion in terms of attitudes towards physical sexual coercion. For purposes of this study, we measured both females’experience as victims of sexual aggression and males’experience as perpetrators of sexual aggression. We also measured both males’and females’values regarding gender inequality and attitudes regarding sexual aggression. We found that female college students in our sample had experienced a considerable amount of sexual aggression. We also found that male and female students’values regarding gender inequality and their attitudes regarding physical sexual coercion differed widely. Finally, we found strong relationships between male students’values and attitudes and their participation in sexual aggression.