Assessing a Routine Activities Explanation for Sexual Violence Victimization among College Students
Sexual violence has played a prominent role on college campuses across the United States over the last decade. While crime on college campuses, in general, decreased since the early 2000s, sexual violence displayed a continuous upward trend from 2010--2013 among college students. Victimization theories suggest that victims of crime, including sexual violence, are not random targets; rather, victims may actually contribute to the likelihood of victimization. According to Lifestyle Theory, victimization is related to lifestyle choices. Within this framework, Routine Activities Theory suggests that certain aspects of a college student's lifestyle may contribute to the likelihood of sexual victimization through contact with motivated offenders, suitability as a target for crime, and the absence of capable guardians. This study investigates how specific college student lifestyle characteristics affect the likelihood of sexual violence victimization. Using a sample of college students from the American College Health Association surveyed in the spring semesters of 2013, 2014, and 2015, fixed effects logistic regression models examine whether participation in Greek life, changing socialization circles while drinking, living arrangements, and employment status affect the likelihood of sexual victimization among males and females, respectively. Overall, the results of this study show that each of these lifestyle choices/routine activities of undergraduate college students examined affects the likelihood of sexual violence victimization, although not always in the expected direction. Moreover, there were no significant gender differences in the influence of these four lifestyle factors/routine activities on victimization risk. The discussion focuses on the implications of the results for theory and policy.