Home » Fall 2007 » KI Researcher ZoŽ Peterson Examines "Wantedness" and Sexual Assault

KI Researcher ZoŽ Peterson Examines "Wantedness" and Sexual Assault

With the fall return to classes, issues of sexual assault are being highlighted on college campuses around the country. Researcher Dr. Zoë Peterson's studies on sexual assault and rape myths seem especially timely. Dr. Peterson, a recent postdoctoral research fellow at The Kinsey Institute is now Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Missouri-St Louis. She studies how young women conceptualize their experiences with sexual coercion and unwanted sexual advances, and the factors involved in the perpetration of sexual aggression by young men.

In a recent study, Dr. Peterson and co-investigator Dr. Charlene Muehlenhard of the University of Kansas found that female subjects reported a more multi-dimensional response to sexual intercourse that included a distinction between wanting and consenting. How female subjects differed in levels of wanting and consent had an effect on whether they reported the incident as a rape or not.

Dr. Peterson commented on some ramifications of her research in a recent IU News article. See IU News article: Sexual assault and college students: a tip sheet.

Peterson, Z.D., & Muehlenhard, C.L. (2007). Conceptualizing the 'wantedness' of women's consensual and nonconsensual sexual experiences: Implications for how women label their experiences with rape. Journal of Sex Research, 14 (1), 72-88. pdf


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