Although the rates of sexual assault in general are alarming, students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, asexual, or pansexual, hereafter referred to as LGBT+, are even more likely to experience sexual assault.
The aim of this study was to examine the correlates to sexual assault and other forms of sexual misconduct of LGBT+ college students.
The Administrator Researcher Campus Climate Collaborative campus climate survey was administered at 10 universities, and a final sample size of 6,973 student surveys were analyzed. All continuous and categorical data were compared by sexual orientation using linear mixed models and logistic generalized linear mixed models.
In this study, we learned that LGBT+ students are more likely than their heterosexual peers to have friends who approve of risky sexual behavior, which is correlated with sexual victimization; understand that absence of physical resistance does not confer consent; engage in bystander intervention; and anticipate supportive responses from peers. LGBT+ students are less likely than their heterosexual peers to feel an overall sense of well-being, perceive that the campus climate regarding sexual misconduct was positive, and feel that the campus was safe. There were no differences between LGBT+ students and heterosexual students regarding most elements of consent, perpetration of any sexual misconduct (stalking, sexual harassment, sexual assault), or stalking victimization.
Interventions to reduce campus sexual assault must be tailored to fit the students. Lack of clarity around consent and bystander intervention education are the mainstay of campus sexual assault prevention efforts.