Jacobsen, S.K., Miller, J. & Bhardwaj, N.* (2020). Gender, racial threat, and perceived risk in an urban university setting. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 57(5), 612-639.
We provide new insights about the role of gender, race, and place in perceived risk and fear of crime and discuss the possible boundaries of the shadow of sexual assault thesis, which attributes women’s higher levels of fear to their underlying fear of rape across a variety of ecological contexts.
We find striking gender similarities in students’ perceptions of risk and fear of crime in this particular context. Specifically, both women and men drew on their perceptions of disorder in the community when defining the threat of victimization, which they believed was robbery committed by the city’s African American male residents.
The gendered shadow of sexual assault was surprisingly absent from students’ discussions, suggesting that it may not be as universal across context as previous research suggests. We argue that microlevel contexts and methodological factors may shape the shadow’s presence, nature, and strength in gendered fear and perceived risk.