The effects of sexual victimization history, acute alcohol intoxication, and level of consensual sex on responses to sexual assault in a hypothetical scenario

Michele R. Parkhill, Jeanette Norris, Amanda K. Gilmore, Danielle M. Hessler, William H. George, Kelly Cue Davis, Tina Zawacki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Assertive resistance to sexual assault can decrease the likelihood of completed rape and its subsequent aftermath; however, this relationship may be influenced by situational characteristics. This study examined how 2 manipulated variables, level of consensual sex during an encounter and acute alcohol intoxication, along with sexual victimization history, affected women's responses to a hypothetical sexual assault scenario. Female participants were assigned to a drink condition (alcohol/control) and to a consent history condition (low/high). Path analysis found that women who were previously victimized, consumed alcohol, and who were in the high consent condition endorsed greater immobility intentions during the assault; only level of consent predicted likelihood of assertive resistance. Resistance strategies were related to subsequent responding. Results suggest that interventions should seek to decrease negative consequences by empowering women to assertively resist unwanted sexual advances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)938-956
Number of pages19
JournalViolence and victims
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016



  • Acute alcohol intoxication
  • Post-assault responses
  • Resistance to rape
  • Sexual assault victimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Health(social science)
  • Law

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