Craig, Hayley (2016) Sexual Assault & Students : Does involvement in a ‘lad culture’ affect British students’ acceptance of sexual assault? Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

‘Lad culture’ – a phenomenon which exists predominantly amongst university students - has gained notoriety recently for its excessive alcohol consumption, sexist and homophobic ‘banter’, and objectification of women. However, research on the phenomenon in university environments, and its impact on women, is scarce. A relationship between involvement in lad culture and the likelihood of accepting and normalising sexual assault is inferred, however, it has not been empirically investigated. The aim of the current study is to examine this relationship and the impact of lad culture on students.
Using a mixed methodology, the first stage, a quantitative investigation, involved a questionnaire and survey developed for the research, which measured students’ involvement in lad culture and acceptance of sexual assault (respectively) (n=59). The purpose of this stage was to test for a relationship between the two variables and, thus, if involvement in lad culture increases acceptance of sexual assault. A second, qualitative stage utilised a mixed-gender focus group in which five students were asked about their experiences of lad culture, in order to explore its characteristics and impact.
The quantitative data revealed a significant positive relationship between involvement in lad culture and the acceptance of sexual assault amongst students. The qualitative data suggested that this was potentially brought about by a tacit acceptance of lad culture as a part of student life, and that it is a group phenomenon linked to the performance of masculinity. Alcohol use and the sexual harassment of women are used as ways to compete within groups of men. Despite the normalisation of the culture, findings also suggest that student men are beginning oppose it; keen to disassociate themselves, as individuals, from the phenomenon.
Findings hold implications for the research area in terms of being the first to uncover a relationship between ‘lad culture’ and assault, as well as the impact it is having on the student body. It provides an impetus on which to base the needed intervention programmes, to inform university policy against the culture and its dangers, whilst also offering a platform on which to develop further research.

FINAL THESIS.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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