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Identifying and Preventing Sexual Aggression Perpetration: Obstacles and Reasons for Optimism

Identifying and Preventing Sexual Aggression Perpetration: Obstacles and Reasons for Optimism

Introduction and Objectives: To date, most interventions
aimed at preventing individuals from perpetrating
sexual aggression have proven unsuccessful. Effective
primary prevention of sexually aggressive behavior
requires an understanding of the factors that contribute
to and motivate that behavior. Yet, multiple barriers
interfere with the ability to research and intervene with
sexually aggressive individuals. This presentation will
address those barriers and possible strategies to overcome
the barriers, as well as present recent research
findings that offer hope that sexually aggressive behavior
may be changeable.
Methods and Results: This presentation will include
findings from several recent studies of college and
community men (and one study of men and women),
which demonstrate that (1) standard methodological
approaches for identifying sexually aggressive individuals
may be flawed, (2) researchers’ current understandings
of the correlates of sexual aggression may be too
limited, and (3) common research conceptualizations
of “sexual aggression” may be too narrow.
Conclusions and Recommendations: Some
researchers and theorists have concluded that it is
impossible to change the behavior of sexually aggressive
men, but given the limitations of the existing
research, it is far too early to accept that conclusion.
Further, many of the results reviewed in this presentation
provide reasons for optimism in terms of our ability
to change sexually aggressive behavior.
Keywords: sexual assault, sexual coercion, rape
Conflict of Interest and Disclosure Statement: None

Speakers: Zoë Peterson