The US Department of Justice has identified rape as the most common violent crime on US college campuses, and fueling rape is alcohol. Less than five percent of female college rapes in a year are estimated to be reported to police, resulting in inaccurate prevalence rates of rape. This may be especially true for Asian American (AA) women, a group researchers speculate heavily underreports due to cultural reasons. However, this relationship has remained scientifically unexamined and has lacked a crucial incorporation of alcohol as an influential factor in underreporting. This is particularly noteworthy given that Asian American college-aged women's alcohol use is significantly increasing as same-aged females of other ethnic groups'alcohol use stabilizes or decreases. Because our current understanding of rape reporting and disclosure is limited and has thus far primarily focused on White American (WA) women, the goal of the proposed research is to examine underreporting behavior as a consequence of alcohol use within the context of being an AA college woman. Using a mixed methods approach, the current research aims to demonstrate the hypothesized lower rates of reporting alcohol-involved rape among AA versus WA college women, which will be assessed through three studies. First, an anonymous survey on alcohol-involved rape history and subsequent reporting behavior will be administered to a sample of AA and WA college women, and hypothesized cultural predictors of reporting behavior will be examined. Second, cultural differences in deterrents and motives for reporting alcohol-involved rape will be qualitatively investigated through individual interviews. And third, an experimental design will assess differences among a sample of AA and WA college women in likelihood to report an acquaintance rape when alcohol use is manipulated in a presented vignette;cultural predictors of reporting behavior will once again be examined. Ethnic health disparities related to sexual victimization are unclear due to underreporting, which may be a consequence of alcohol use and cultural factors. The proposed research aims to inform current inaccurate prevalence rates of alcohol-involved rape for a potentially highly vulnerable population, given the rising rates of alcohol use and the steady high enrollment of AA women in college. Encouraging reporting is essential to enhance support, treatment, and recovery for victimized women of all ethnic groups. Hopefully, this research will lead to culturally-relevant interventions designed to empower all women to voice grievances against them, despite cultural barriers related and unrelated to alcohol use.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31)
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Health Services Research Review Subcommittee (AA)
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Freeman, Robert
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University of Washington
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Koo, Kelly H; Nguyen, Hong V; Andrasik, Michele P et al. (2015) The cultural context of nondisclosure of alcohol-involved acquaintance rape among Asian American college women: a qualitative study. J Sex Res 52:55-68
Gilmore, Amanda K; Koo, Kelly H; Nguyen, Hong V et al. (2014) Sexual assault, drinking norms, and drinking behavior among a national sample of lesbian and bisexual women. Addict Behav 39:630-6
Koo, Kelly H; Stephens, Kari A; Lindgren, Kristen P et al. (2012) Misogyny, acculturation, and ethnic identity: relation to rape-supportive attitudes in Asian American college men. Arch Sex Behav 41:1005-14
Nguyen, Hong V; Koo, Kelly H; Davis, Kelly Cue et al. (2012) Risky sex: interactions among ethnicity, sexual sensation seeking, sexual inhibition, and sexual excitation. Arch Sex Behav 41:1231-9