Incapacitated and forcible rape of college women: prevalence across the first year

J Adolesc Health. 2015 Jun;56(6):678-80. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2015.02.018.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to document the point and cumulative prevalence of incapacitated rape (IR) and forcible rape (FR) among first-year college women.

Methods: Female students (N = 483) completed a health questionnaire (1) on arrival on campus; (2) at the end of the fall semester; (3) at the end of the spring semester; and (4) at the end of the summer following their first year of college.

Results: Before entering college, 18% reported IR (attempted and/or completed), and 15% reported FR (attempted and/or completed). During the first year of college, 15% reported IR (attempted or completed) and 9% reported FR (attempted or completed). By the start of the second year (lifetime prevalence), 26% and 22% had experienced IR and FR (attempted or completed), respectively.

Conclusions: Both incapacitated and forcible sexual assaults and rape have reached epidemic levels among college women. Interventions to address sexual violence on campus are urgently needed.

Keywords: College students; Forcible rape; Freshmen; Incapacitated rape; Prevalence; Sexual assault; Women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking in College*
  • Crime Victims / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Rape / psychology
  • Rape / statistics & numerical data*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult