Several government-sponsored victimization surveys have found women's fear of crime to be much higher than that of men even though their probability of being victimized is much lower than men's. On the basis of these results, several criminologists contend that women's fear is subjectively based. However, government surveys have not adequately examined the consequences of the physical, sexual, and psychological abuse of women by male intimates. Feminist researchers contend that these assaults greatly contribute to a generalized fear of crime that is objectively based. Using data from a national survey on female abuse in Canadian college/university dating relationships, this study tested and failed to support the feminist hypothesis that violence by male intimates results in higher levels of fear. However, an examination of an ex post facto hypothesis assessing the relationship between fear in private places (the home) and abuse by male dating partners found positive correlations. Women who had been psychologically or sexually victimized by male dating partners felt more insecure in their own homes than other women. These increased feelings of fear were linked to experiences of sexual coercion, unwanted sexual touching, psychological abuse, and sexual abuse. The results suggest that women reassess their feelings of fear when victimized by male intimates. In particular, places generally viewed as safe by women, their own homes, are seen as more threatening than they had been in the past.

Additional Metadata
Journal Violence and Victims
Citation
Kelly, K, & DeKeseredy, W.S. (1994). Women's fear of crime and abuse in college and university dating relationships. Violence and Victims, 9(1), 17–30.