Abstract: International Students' Awareness and Utilization of Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment on- and Off-Campus Resources (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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International Students' Awareness and Utilization of Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment on- and Off-Campus Resources

Sunday, January 15, 2023
Paradise Valley, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Laura LiƩvano-Karim, MPP, Doctoral student, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Jianchao Lai, MSW, Doctoral Student, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Sara Wilf, MPA, PhD Student, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Stephanie Kathan, MSSW, PhD Student, University of California, Los Angeles, CA
Ariana Schieferle, Student Research Associate, University of California, Los Angeles
Kalani Phillips, MPH, CPH, PhD Student, University of California, Irvine
Joanne Probert, MSN, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, University of California, San Francisco
Background: In the last several years, Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment (SVSH) have become pervasive concerns on college campuses. Simultaneously, there has been a growing trend on college campuses to increase their international student body. However, despite this increase in the total population of international students, they have been left out of research on campus SVSH. Moreover, international student survivors have a distinct narrative to tell when it comes to their experiences with on-campus SVSH resources and service utilization due to their unique needs and vulnerabilities such as visa constraints and language barriers. Therefore, the goal of this study focuses on international students by exploring their knowledge and awareness about SVSH resources in the University of California (UC) system and their perceptions of trust and comfort in using these services when compared to their domestic student counterparts.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was done using data collected through convenience sampling with an online survey on awareness and utilization of on-campus and off-campus resources for SVSH. The sample drawn includes male and female, undergraduate and graduate, and international and domestic students affiliated with one of the 10 UC campuses. A total of 1208 students participated in the survey. Final analyses included survey data from 208 international students and 1,000 domestic students, with the majority of international students, self-reporting being graduate students (80%), Asian (59%), cis-gender females (54%), and feeling comfortable speaking English (78%). Logistic regression models adjusted for covariates such as gender orientation and being either an undergraduate or a graduate student were used to estimate the association between being an international student and their perception of knowledge about on-campus SVSH services and perceived trust and comfort using available on-campus resources for SVSH.

Results: The result indicated that international students are less likely to understand the responsibilities and procedures of Title IX (OR=0.63, p=0.01<0.05), when compared to domestic students. However, they are almost two times more likely than domestic students to know that Title IX serves international students (OR=1.93, p=0.01<0.05). In terms of service utilization, international student survivors are more likely to use self-care, art healing, and counseling. International graduate students use more body-based movement (e.g., martial arts, yoga) and meditation than international undergraduate students. In terms of general trust in on-campus resources, international students feel less comfortable reporting an SVSH-related incident to UCPD compared to domestic students. The level of trust in Title IX, CARE, and CAPS were similar to that of domestic students.

Implications: By identifying the knowledge and perceptions of international students regarding SVSH resources and services, our findings emphasized the need to better address international specific needs and customize services for this population due to their varied level of knowledge and attitude towards on-campus resources. These tailored services should be less focused on punitive measures, and instead use creative arts, advocacy, meditation, and counseling to foster healing for international students survivors of SVSH across the UC system.