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3-month Prevalence of Unwanted Sexual Contact Victimization in a National Sample of College Students: Differences by Race, Gender Identity, and Sexual Identity

NCJ Number
Bmc Public Health Volume: 24 Issue: 572 Dated: February 2024
Date Published
February 2024
9 pages

This report on unwanted sexual contact victimization among college students describes the authors’ stratification of Sexual Assault Prevention for Undergrads, 2020-2021 dataset to determine rates of USCV among transgender students; it includes details on data collection, analysis, and findings, with a discussion of implications for campus policy and prevention strategies.


Most unwanted sexual contact victimization (USCV) research utilizes predominantly white, cisgender, heterosexual college student samples. Estimates of USCV prevalence and demographic variation can determine the need for dedicated funding and culturally relevant campus services for students in high-risk groups. Objective To estimate the national prevalence and demographic variation in self-reported USCV within the first three months of college. Data are from the Sexual Assault Prevention for Undergrads (SAPU) (2020–2021) dataset. SAPU is an online intervention program administered to students on more than 600 college campuses in the United States (N=250,359). Group differences were assessed by race/ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual identity, and then stratified by gender to assess within-gender group differences. Setting The SAPU dataset includes public and private institutions and 2-year and 4-year colleges with varying sizes of enrollment. Participants The sample is demographically diverse, and consists of newly matriculated U.S. college students, most of whom complete the SAPU program within the first three months of enrollment. The primary outcome measure is self-reported USCV within the first three months of college enrollment, analyzed for subgroup differences. The authors hypothesized that USCV would be higher among students from racial/ethnic, gender, and sexual minority populations. Nearly 8 percent of transgender men reported USCV, followed by 7.4 percent of transgender women, 7.4 percent of genderqueer/gender non-conforming students, 4.5 percent of women, and 1.5 percent of men. Several subgroups reported exceedingly high rates of USCV, including Black students who identified as transgender women (35.7 percent) and American Indian/Alaska Native/Native Hawaii. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: February 1, 2024