Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Ráchael Powers, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Ojmarrh Mitchell, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Richard Moule, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Michelle Hughes Miller, Ph.D.


college students, dating violence, sexual violence, violence against women


Routine Activities Theory (RAT) is one of the most widely used theories to explain victimization. It has been applied to a wide range of criminal victimizations, such as property crimes (Miethe, Stafford, & Long, 1987) and urban murder (Messner & Tardiff, 1985). While traditional RAT has been used to explain violence against women, the feminist perspective of RAT developed by Schwartz and Pitts (1995) provides a better explanation by incorporating cultural factors that shape the conditions that give rise to offending. The current study draws on feminist RAT in order to explore three different types of victimization involving women: stalking, dating violence and sexual violence.

In doing so, the current study extends the RAT and feminist RAT literature by more thoroughly exploring what it means to be a capable guardian and by incorporating literature on bystander intervention. Though bystander intervention literature and feminist RAT literature are similar in that they view people as having the ability to prevent violence and crime, the two areas have developed relatively separately and have rarely been integrated together. In addition to expanding the literature on RAT, this study also contributes to the bystander intervention literature by analyzing willingness to intervene in three types of cyber violence against women. Though bystander intervention research has greatly expanded throughout the years, research involving intervention into cyber stalking, cyber dating violence, and cyber sexual violence/harassment are greatly lacking. The current study employed a web based survey to assess bystander intervention in cyber violence and expand feminist and cyber RAT by analyzing victimization. College students were asked to judge their likelihood of intervention in situations involving potential dating violence, sexual harassment, and stalking. In addition, they were asked about their routine activities and components related to the theory, as well as dating violence, sexual violence and stalking victimization. Unsurprisingly, students preferred to intervene in a direct manner. In addition, there were inconsistent findings regarding victimization and routine activities theory. The results of the study are discussed in terms of implications for the development of bystander intervention programs and will expand the feminist RAT literature.