International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE)

Date of Award


Degree Type

Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Community Development and Planning (CDP)


International Development, Community and Environment

Chief Instructor

Dr. Marianne Sarkis

Second Reader

Dr. Kathryn Madden


This paper is about the what, why, and where of misperceptions of sexual intent and the connection between these misperceptions and sexual assault, with a focus on college campuses. Studying, analyzing, and understanding male misperceptions of sexual intent could inform implications for preventions strategies to foster safer campus communities. This was done through an analysis of qualitative survey data, made available to me by Dr. Rhiana Wegner of University of Massachusetts Boston, in which 288 male participants answered three questions about their experiences with misperceiving the sexual intent and interest of a woman. The data suggest that prevention strategies must explicitly: address attitudes and beliefs that normalize sexual assault, emphasize verbal communication, address misperceptions of sexual intent, be more comprehensive and holistic, and engage men to be part of the solution. Addressing these gaps in prevention strategies is a major step in preventing sexual assault and the misperceptions of sexual intent that often facilitate it.

Included in

Communication Commons



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