Student Research Projects

Understanding the Relationship between Preventive Education, Sexual Assault, and Rape Myth Beliefs

Student Lauren Amos '16 (Criminal Justice)
Ruben Pena '15 (Criminal Justice and Psychology)
Angela Toliver '15 (Criminal Justice)
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Criminal Justice
Course Criminal Justice 350: Introduction to Social Research


This study examines the relationship between preventative education, sexual assault, and rape myth beliefs on college campuses. According to research, sexual assault on college campuses is becoming more prevalent, and the education students receive is inadequate. Our study looked at three questions: whether the types of education one receives relates to one’s beliefs on victimization, whether the types of education one receives reflects actual knowledge about rape/ sexual assault, and whether certain educational programs are more effective than others. Sixty-two college students at Virginia Wesleyan College were surveyed using open-ended questions, close-ended questions, and Likert scale ratings about their educational experience as well as any prior knowledge of sexual assault. After utilizing cross-tab analysis of our data, we concluded that students who attend educational programs are more likely to place sole responsibility of a sexual assault on the assailant, rather than distributing the responsibility between the victim and attacker. This information will help to create sexual assault education programs that will potentially lower the number of sexual assault victims.