Minority identity, othering-based stress and sexual violence

Auteurs & affiliatie

Lotte De Schrijver, Lisa Fomenko, Barbara Krahé, Kristien Roelens, Tom Vander Beken, Ines Keygnaert


Background: Some (minority) groups (MGs) are more vulnerable to sexual violence (SV) exposure than others. Othering-based stress (OBS) may mediate the relationship between minority identification and SV. This study aims to assess the prevalence of SV in different MGs to explore the relationship between minority identification and SV, to investigate whether belonging to multiple MGs moderates this relationship, and to explore OBS SV moderation for different MGs. Method: Through an online survey administered to a nationally representative sample in Belgium, data was collected from 4632 persons, of whom 21.01% self-identified as belonging to a MG (SI-Minority). SV prevalence was measured using behaviorally specific questions based on the WHO definition of SV. SI-Minority participants received an additional scale on OBS. Results: SI-Minority participants reported more SV victimization compared to the non-minorities. However, this increased risk was not moderated by minority identification but linked to the socio-demographic SV risk markers common to minority individuals. Multiple-minority participants were found more at risk of SV compared to single-minority respondents. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, pan-/omnisexual, asexual, and other non-heterosexual (LGB+) participants were found more at risk than heterosexual participants. OBS was found to be significantly correlated to SV in sexual and gender minorities and in cultural minorities. Conclusions: This study contributes to our understanding of the relationship between minority identification, OBS, and SV. Studying both specific and common SV vulnerabilities and outcomes within specific societal subgroups and the general population may inform policy makers when allocating resources to those interventions with the largest societal impact.




Lotte De Schrijver
Ines Keygnaert

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De_Schrijver_et_al._ijerph-19-04221-v2.pdf (open)

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