A cross-sectional study examining the extent of unwanted sexual attention and unhealthy intimate relationships among female university students Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Issue addressed: Unwanted sexual attention and unhealthy intimate relationships have the potential to have serious negative health consequences. To date, there has been scant focus on these issues among university students in Australia. The aim of the current study was to describe the extent of unwanted sexual attention and unhealthy intimate relationships experienced in their lifetime by female university students aged 18-25 years.Methods: A cross-sectional study was undertaken involving 465 female students aged 18-25 years. Students were recruited through one faculty within a Victorian university and invited to complete an anonymous online questionnaire.Results: Sixty-seven per cent (n = 312) of female students reported experiencing unwanted sexual attention in their lifetime. The most common form of unwanted sexual attention was kissing or touching over clothes (98%; n = 306). Over 43% (n = 124) of the female students reported that the experience of unwanted sexual experience occurred after their protests were ignored. Thirty per cent (n = 135) of the female students reported experiencing at least one element of an unhealthy intimate relationship.Conclusions: The high rates of unwanted sexual attention and unhealthy intimate relationships among female university students is of concern given the negative impact such events can have on individual's physical, emotional and social well being.So what?: Public health and health promotion action is required to prevent female students from experiencing unwanted sexual attention and unhealthy intimate relationships, and to address the negative health and well being consequences.

publication date

  • 2016