Students’ Social Experiences and Attitudes Survey (Winter 2020)
During the Winter 2020 academic term, Drs. Charlene Senn, Nicole Jeffrey, Michelle Krieger, and Anne Forrest conducted a survey with roughly 1,000 University of Windsor students to measure experiences of sexual violence and other social experiences and attitudes. Sexual violence is any unwanted sexual act imposed on one person by another. Any kind of sexual contact without mutual consent—from unwanted touching to intercourse—is sexual violence and has extensive negative impacts on individuals and societies.
Sexual violence can happen to anyone—women, men, as well as people who are transgender, gender fluid, or gender nonconforming. However, our survey results confirm an abundance of previous research showing that it is a gendered crime. Victims/survivors are more commonly women and perpetrators are more commonly men. We found in our survey that 23% of women, 10% of men, and 17% of nonbinary students reported experiencing sexual violence at least once in the past 12 months.
Documenting sexual violence on university campuses is important for helping shape services and prevention programs. Dr. Senn and colleagues from the Bystander Initiative (www.bystanderinitiative.ca) have been measuring sexual violence experiences on the University of Windsor campus since 2010 by inviting all undergraduate students each Fall to participate in a survey. Although this method of recruitment allows all students who want to participate to do so, usually only about 10% of students participate. This can lead to problems in knowing whether those students and their experiences are different from the students who didn’t participate. In our Winter 2020 study, students were chosen randomly to participate, and we used reminders and gift cards to make sure that a high proportion of those who were invited would be willing to participate. This worked: more than 50% of those who were invited chose to participate. This allowed us to compare our findings to the other campus surveys and to make more reliable conclusions about the experiences of students on the University of Windsor campus. We found no significant differences in the percentages of students who had experienced or perpetrated sexual violence in this random sample and the campus-wide study from the same year. This means the Bystander Initiative’s yearly campus-wide survey provides accurate information about University of Windsor students’ experiences of sexual violence.
Evaluating Recruitment Advertisements for a Sexual Assault Education Workshop (Flip the ScriptTM program) (Fall 2019-Winter 2020)
During the 2019-20 academic year, Dr. Charlene Senn, Dr. Nicole Jeffrey, and Ms. Emma Bailey conducted research with undergraduate women from the University of Windsor to identify the poster messages and images that undergraduate women find most interesting and motivating to register for the Flip the ScriptTM sexual assault resistance program (or others like it).
In the first study, we examined which poster advertisements (from a set of 13 pairs) university women found most compelling and would increase their hypothetical interest in participating in the program, along with some additional recruitment-related information. Based on these results, we were able to identify the top 8 posters. In the second study, we examined which of the remaining 8 posters were most positively viewed in terms of intention to register or desire to get more information (not just hypothetical interest), along with some additional recruitment-related information.
In general, the research demonstrated that there was high interest in and perceived relevance of this type of programming for university women. Certain design and message characteristics and supplementary information led to even higher registration intent. Our main findings are summarized below:
1. After viewing any one of 13 advertisement messages in Study 1:
- 47%–70% of participants were either very or somewhat interested in attending Flip the ScriptTM (depending on message).
- 39%–61% of participants found the messages to be very or somewhat personally relevant (depending on message).
2. After learning more information about Flip the ScriptTM in Study 1:
- 85% of participants were either very or somewhat interested in attending Flip the ScriptTM.
- 66% of participants thought Flip the ScriptTM seemed very or somewhat personally relevant.
3. After viewing any one of 8 randomly assigned posters in Study 2:
- 56% of participants wanted to sign up for (14%) or learn more about (41%) Flip the ScriptTM.
4. After learning more information about Flip the ScriptTM in Study 2:
- 53% of participants wanted to sign up for Flip the ScriptTM (more than 60% of whom reported that the poster message or visual design impacted their decision).
- 11% of those who wanted to sign up clicked the external link to go to the Flip the ScriptTM webpage (an indication of wanting to sign up immediately or learn more).
5. Participants were generally more interested in attending Flip the ScriptTM when they learned that: it is offered on their campus, it is free of charge, it teaches participants how to resist sexual assault, and refreshments and a certificate of completion are provided.
TM Trademark of the SARE Centre