Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Arts

Program

Sociology

Supervisor

Dr. Paul-Philippe Paré

Abstract

Using data from the 2009 General Social Survey on victimization, this study examines the relationship between Canadian women’s past experiences of sexual and physical victimization within the past five years and their subsequent engagement in self-protective behaviour. Self-protective behaviour is divided into three categories, including self-defense class enrollment, weapon carrying and overall protection (combines self-defense class and weapons). Three hypotheses are examined. Firstly, this study looks at whether women who have been victimized (regardless of type) are more likely to practice self-protective behaviour than their non-victim counterparts. Then, within the victims-only group, this study looks at whether women who have been sexually victimized are more likely to engage in self-protective behaviour than women who have experienced physical victimization, or whether the impact of physical and sexual victimization are similar. Results indicate a strong positive relationship between past experiences of victimization and engaging in self-protection. Women who have been victimized are more likely to enroll in a self-defense class, carry a weapon and engage in overall protection in comparison to women who have not been victimized. Furthermore, women who have experienced sexual victimization are more likely to engage in overall protection than women who have experienced physical victimization. When self-defense class enrollment and weapon carrying are analyzed separately however, the impact of physical and sexual victimization is not statistically different when the control variables are included. This suggests that separating self-defense class enrollment and weapon carrying might hide the full impact of sexual victimization on women’s insecurity and need for self-protection.


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