Disclosure and service use on a college campus after an unwanted sexual experience

Wendy A. Walsh, Victoria L. Banyard, Mary M. Moynihan, Sally Ward, Ellen S. Cohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

164 Scopus citations


In order to continue to facilitate the disclosure of sexual assault to professional support services, the current study examined the extent to which survivors report using campus services and whether friends who had disclosed to participants used the services. We also compared knowledge of a campus sexual assault center and likelihood of using the center among college men and women. Surveys were completed by 1,230 students, including victims of unwanted contact (n = 127), victims of unwanted intercourse (n = 26), and friends of victims (n = 253). Students who reported being victims of unwanted sexual experiences were reluctant to use services, expressing concerns that they would not be believed and that they would be blamed for what had happened to them. College men were significantly less likely to know where the sexual assault center was located, to report that they would use the center, and to report that unwanted sexual experiences were a problem on campus. Results indicate that much needs to be done to educate the campus community about the value of using professional support services after a sexual assault.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)134-151
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Trauma and Dissociation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


  • College students
  • Disclosure
  • Sexual assault
  • Support services


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