Double Jeopardy: Asian International Students’
Experiences of Sexual Violence and Xenophobia during COVID-19

Double Jeopardy: Asian International Students’ Experiences of Sexual Violence and Xenophobia during COVID-19

Despite the high proportion of Asian international students in the U.S. education system, including across all University of California (UC) campuses, there is a gap in the research literature on the intersecting identities of being a foreigner in U.S. and the ascribed identity of being Asian. Additionally, little is known about how these identities affect risk for exposure to sexual violence and practice of key help-seeking behaviors. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Asian students’ risk for sexual violence and sexual harassment (SVSH) on college campuses has increased due to anti-Asian xenophobia and social isolation. Moreover, visa restrictions on the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) enforced by the Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) may inhibit international students’ willingness to seek essential SVSH advocacy and support services available on and off campus.

Previous UC Speaks Up study findings indicate there are substantial gaps in the availability of culturally appropriate and accessible SVSH services for international UC students, i.e., students enrolled for credit at a UC campus on a non-immigrant visa status (without a valid green card). The purpose of the Double Jeopardy Study is to build on these findings by exploring Asian international students’ experiences related to SVSH during their time in U.S., both before and during COVID-19. Our research aims to specifically examine xenophobia-related trauma, help seeking methods, barriers and facilitators to accessing support services, and if there are added vulnerabilities due to COVID-19 among Asian international student survivors of SVSH.

The goal of the Double Jeopardy Study is to open the conversation about Asian international students’ experiences of SVSH during the pandemic, and use evidence-based practice to improve services to help students access supportive resources. We stand with survivors and advocate for student- and survivor-centered research and practice.

We will be seeking international Asian student survivors of SVSH who are 18 years or older to participate in a confidential, 1-hour Zoom interview. SVSH includes sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, dating and/or intimate partner violence. Students from all 10 UC campuses will be eligible to participate.


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