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Investigating Acknowledgment of Unwanted Sexual Experiences in College Women Open Access

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The purpose of the current study was to enhance knowledge about the specific factors that make it more likely for women to acknowledge and label unwanted sexual experiences as rape. Previous research on acknowledgement has investigated both individual and situational variables to examine differences between unacknowledged and acknowledged victims and to determine which variables best predict acknowledgement. This study aimed to further contribute to this literature by proposing a multivariate model of acknowledgement that included (1) previously-researched variables found to significantly predict acknowledgement, (2) variables that have not been previously examined, and (3) interactions between these newly-proposed variables. Seven variables were statistically significant predictors of acknowledgement. Odds of acknowledging rape increased as participants' reported age, prior experience of abuse, level of physical resistance/physical force, and degree of distress increased. Odds of acknowledging rape decreased as participants' reported level of offender intoxication increased. Additional results revealed that perceived future control significantly predicted acknowledgement at varying levels of feminist/egalitarian identity. These findings provide further insight into the factors predicting acknowledgement as well as the possible benefits to not acknowledge rape. Finally, potential future areas of research are discussed.

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