Abstract: Patterns of Violence Victimization and Disclosure Among Transgender/Gender Non-Conforming and Cisgender Latinx College Students (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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Patterns of Violence Victimization and Disclosure Among Transgender/Gender Non-Conforming and Cisgender Latinx College Students

Saturday, January 14, 2023
Paradise Valley, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Julia O'Connor, PhD, MSW, MPH, Assistant Professor; Violence Against Women Cluster Member, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
Kyle Ganson, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto, ON, Canada
Shelleta Ladonice, MSW, Graduate Research Associate, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
Iris Cardenas, PhD, LSW, Doctoral Student, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
Background and Purpose: Although research on dating and sexual violence experiences of minoritized college students has increased in recent years, little is known about the experiences of Latinx students. Even less knowledge is available on whether such violence and disclosure experiences vary by gender identity. This study examined 1) rates of violence victimization among a national sample of Latinx college students; and 2) disclosure patterns, including to whom those students told about their experience. Through the examination of Latinx students’ experiences of violence victimization and their disclosure patterns, this study sheds light on the experiences of a group of students who are rarely studied on their own. Instead, they are often lumped together with students of other ethnic backgrounds. Specifically, this study focuses on understanding the intersection of Latinx identity with gender identity to examine how gender and ethnicity impact victimization risk and subsequent disclosure behaviors.

Methods: Using data from the 2019-2020 Healthy Minds Study, a national sample of Latinx college students (n = 6,705) was analyzed. Descriptive statistics, chi-square tests, and one-way ANOVAs were conducted to explore differences among socio-demographic characteristics and gender identity and disclosure type, and gender identity. Multiple logistic regression analyses were used to estimate the association between gender identity and violence victimization and gender identity and sexual assault disclosure while controlling for various socio-demographic measures.

Results: Results indicated that both women and TGNC students, compared to men, had higher odds of reported emotional abuse (women: adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 1.24, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.00-1.54; TGNC: AOR 2.33, 95% CI 1.19-4.56) and sexual violence (women: AOR 3.49, 95% CI 2.13-5.72; TGNC: AOR 2.92, 95% CI 1.13-7.58) while adjusting for potential confounders. TGNC students who experienced a sexual assault had a significantly higher percentage of no disclosure (58.2%), followed by women (33.3%), and men (21.3%). TGNC students had the highest percentage (4.2%) of reporting formal only disclosure compared to men (2.5%) and women (1.7%). Compared to men, TGNC students who reported experiencing a sexual assault had significantly lower odds of any disclosure (AOR 0.07, 95% confidence interval 0.12-0.37).

Conclusions: The findings from this study shed light on this important area, indicating that among Latinx students, both women and TGNC individuals experienced significantly greater odds of emotional and sexual violence victimization compared to their male peers. The magnitude of these differences was largest for sexual violence: women were three and half times more likely to experience sexual violence compared to men, while TGNC students were nearly three times more likely to be sexually victimized.

This study specifically provides knowledge into the victimization experiences of Latinx students, and how these experiences differ by gender identity–an area largely excluded from existing empirical work. Importantly, this research brings attention to the need to attend to students who often face structural barriers because of their intersecting identities, specifically TGNC Latinx students. Thus, our results point to a comprehensive approach to addressing dating and sexual violence on college campuses by acknowledging the experiences of diverse students and implementing targeted interventions.