196742 Sexual violence in college students in Chile: Evidence from the 2005 Survey of Student Well-Being

Monday, November 9, 2009: 12:30 PM

Jocelyn A. Lehrer, ScD , Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, University of California - San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Evelyn Lehrer, PhD , Department of Economics, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Pamela Oyarzun, MD , Center for Reproductive Medicine and Adolescent Health, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile

The objective was to conduct a comparative study of the prevalence of sexual violence in female and male college students in Chile and to describe the contexts of such violence. This public health issue has received virtually no attention in the literature to date.

Methods and Data

A survey was administered to students enrolled in General Education courses at a public university in Santiago, during the Winter semester, 2005 (n= 484 women, 466 men).


Approximately 31% of women and 20.5% of men reported having experienced at least one incident of sexual violence since age 14; the corresponding percentages for the past 12 months were 17.1% and 11.6%, respectively. Both female- male differences were statistically significant. Regarding the most serious experience of sexual violence since age 14, the aggressors were identified predominantly as an acquaintance; another important fraction corresponded to the partner or someone with whom the subject was on a date. Consumption of alcohol or other substances was involved in the majority of the cases. The incident was reported to the police by 2.5% of the victimized women and by none of the victimized men. The results also indicate a high prevalence of sexual violence in girls and boys before age 14.


The study findings suggest that experiences of sexual violence in Chilean youth represent a serious public health problem which deserves further attention. They also underscore the importance of developing terminology in Spanish to refer to experiences of "date rape" and "acquaintance rape."

Learning Objectives:
Describe the prevalence of sexual violence in Chilean college students, and the contexts in which such violence takes place. Explain the strong case for directing public health attention to sexual violence in Chilean youths.

Keywords: Sexual Assault, Adolescent Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Previous related work includes the following: Lehrer JL, Lehrer VL, Lehrer EL, Oyarzun PB."Prevalence of and Risk Factors for Sexual Victimization in College Women in Chile. International Family Planning Perspectives. 2007; 33(4): 168-175. Lehrer JL, Pantell R, Tebb K, Shafer MA. “Forgone Health Care Among U.S. Adolescents: Associations Between Risk Characteristics and Confidentiality Concern.” Featured article in Journal of Adolescent Health. 2007;40(3):218-226. Lehrer JL, Shrier LA, Gortmaker S, Buka S. “Depressive Symptoms as a Longitudinal Predictor of Sexual Risk Behavior Among U.S. Adolescents.” Pediatrics. 2006;118(1):189-200. Lehrer JL, Buka S, Gortmaker S, Shrier LA. “Depressive Symptoms as a Longitudinal Predictor of Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence Among U.S. Female Adolescents and Young Adults.” Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. 2006;160(3):270-276
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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