Hanging out and Hooking Up: Ambiguity in Interpersonal Relations in Contemporary Campus Culture

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University of Delaware
In this study, I examine the “hookup culture” on the University of Delaware campus in an attempt to reveal how closely the associated behaviors are linked with the occurrence of rape and sexual assault. I am suggesting there is a causal relationship between the ambiguity of “hook ups” and party rape. My prediction is that the “hookup culture”—the dominant interacting set of cultural values, scripts and range of actions in which young heterosexual men and women engage in sexual relations with one another—creates conditions in which rape and other forms of sexual violence are at significant risk of taking place. I compare secondary literature with my own data collected through open-ended interviews with undergraduate students from the University of Delaware, in order to identify a series of variables of the hookup culture that may have the potential to create dangerous situations for participants. The goal is first, to better understand hook up culture and behaviors related to it and second, to identify a point of intervention in this campus culture so that more effective policies and procedures may be employed to reduce the incidence of sexual assault.
interpersonal relations, campus culture, sexual assault, hook-up culture