Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 609–618 | Cite as

Sexual Aggression in Brazilian Nightclubs: Associations with Patron’s Characteristics, Drug Use, and Environmental Factors

  • Zila M. SanchezEmail author
  • Mariana Guedes Ribeiro Santos
  • Adriana Sanudo
  • Claudia M. Carlini
  • Silvia S. Martins
Original Paper


Bars and nightclubs are main locations for sexual assault outcomes such as rape, attempted rape, stalking, and other forms of sexual harassment. Alcohol use is strongly associated with violence in nightlife settings. The present study aimed to identify individual and environmental factors, such as different types of nightclubs, music styles, and physical environment associated with nightclub patron’s report of being victims of sexual aggression inside nightclubs in São Paulo, Brazil. Two levels of data were collected: observational data inside nightclubs and individual-level survey data of 2422 patrons at the entrance and 1822 patrons (1111 men; 711 women) at the exit of 31 nightclubs. Among patrons, 11.5% (95% CI 7.9–16.2%) reported being a victim of sexual aggression inside the venues in the night of the survey. Groping and forced kissing were the most prevalent forms of sexual aggression (9.8%; [7.2–13.1%]), which was more strongly associated with environmental factors such as crowding (OR = 2.9 [1.6–5.2%]), entrance consumption fee (OR = 4.2 [2.5–7.0%]), and music style than with individual-level factors. In funk (OR = 3.3 [1.6–6.9%]), electronic (OR = 3.2 [1.8–5.8%]), and pop dance (OR = 7.9 [2.2–29.1%]) nightclubs, patrons had higher chances of being a victim of sexual aggression compared to those ones at the eclectic nightclubs. Presence of reserved areas for sex increased the chances of reporting sexual aggression (OR = 1.8 [1.2–2.8%]). No significant gender differences for sexual aggression were detected. Results suggest a requirement of security improvement where environmental characteristics are potential predictors of victimization.


Sexual violence Nightlife settings Alcohol consumption Brazil 



Funding for this study was provided by the São Paulo State Research Support Foundation (Fundação de Amparo a Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo—FAPESP), Grant Number 11/51658-0. FAPESP has no further role in study design, the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data, the writing of the report or in the decision to submit the paper for publication.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or international, national research committee.

Ethical Considerations

The Research Ethics Committee of the Universidade Federal de São Paulo (protocol 21477) approved this study. No interviews were conducted with patrons showing signs of severe intoxication, following the guidelines for screening described in Perham, Moore, Shepherd, and Cusens (2007).

Human and Animal Rights

This study was performed according to the international, national, and institutional rules regarding human experiments and that all of the listed authors have read and approved the submitted manuscript.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Preventive MedicineUniversidade Federal de São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Public Health InstituteLiverpool John Moores UniversityLiverpoolUK
  3. 3.Department of EpidemiologyColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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