Adolescence is a time of accelerated physical and sexual growth, and many students become sexually active before they finish secondary schooling. Unfortunately, many adolescents and young adults experience sexual coercion in their intimate relationships. Sexual coercion is defined broadly as verbal or physical pressure to engage in sexual activity. This study sought to examine sexual coercion experiences of Year 11-12 high school, male and female students in their peer dating and relationships. Before retrieving such information, a modified Sexual Experiences Survey (SES) questionnaire was designed. This was named the Adolescent Dating and Relationship Survey (ADRS) which, subsequently, was examined by experts in the area, and validated via a pilot study using 30 university students. Thirdly, the study administered the ADRS to 341, Year 11 and Year 12 students to examine how they responded to their sexually coercive experiences. The participants were actively engaging in relationship behaviours, with nearly 50% of the females and 70% of the males reporting a relationship with a partner of the same age. However, significantly more females dated older partners and, conversely, more male students were involved with younger partners. The female students tended to have longer relationships than the males, especially for relationships of 9 to 12 months or longer. Participants did not report sexual coercion experiences via threat or blackmail, nor were the males threatened with a weapon. The most frequently cited forms of coercion by both female and male students were: made to feel guilty, being plied with alcohol and/or other drugs, being pressured by begging and/or arguing, and being lied to. However, the female students reported being physically restrained significantly more than the males. As a group they responded to these sexually coercive acts via all forms 2 measured except the males, who did not resort to either fighting off or yelling. Talking about the experience later was the response commonly reported by the students. Further, female students responded to sexual coercion by saying either, "Stop" or "No Further", or pulling away, or by leaving the scene significantly more than the males. However, many female and male participants reported responding to sexual coercion by doing nothing at all.
|Publication status||Unpublished - 2008|