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Class 4. Sexual Assault.docx

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University of Ottawa
Christine Bruckert

Sexual Assault Competing Explanations - Individuals (psych) o Psychologically damaged, sick people – not likely - Biological (positivism) o Rape is part of natural selection and reproducing (how men are programmed to ensure their seed is spread – animalistic) - Socio-Cultural (feminist) o Sex drive, biological in a different way, they cannot help but sexually assault others. Rape Free Versus Rape Prone Societies (Socio-Cultural) Rape Prone Societies - Sexuality understood in terms of men overcoming female resistance - Sex as a rite of passage for men - Patriarchy - Warfare Rape Free Societies - Women’s autonomy and ownership of body - High respect for reproductive capabilities - Relation to nature is on of respect not exploitation/domination - No different value assigned sex specific tasks - Female or male and female deity o If you dress sexy/slutty you are going to compel men to rape you, awaken their sex drive. Also means we can’t have a world without rape – it is inevitable, but it isn’t because the rates are different in different areas and parts of the world. Feminist Point of Departure Challenge biological and psychological explanations Rape is: - Violent (not sex) - A cultural artifact - A social problem *Rape is about power not sex* Mobilize - Public education and targeted sensitization - Law and criminal justice reform - Grass roots support Public Education and Sensitization (Rape Myths) General: Victims: Offenders: - Consider the myths used in relation to rape (re-offence, offender and victim) – where can we locate them within socially constructed gender?; gender relations? Sexuality? Always done in a dark alley Always done by the opposite sex Related to bars and alcohol Have a socially constructed view of what a rapist looks like – dirty, lower class, and addict Victims are asking for it Always young women Women may say ‘no’ but they really want it Some men can’t help themselves The victim could have stopped it Women lie – they cry rape to attract attention and target men *We have been conditioned to blame women – so women blame themselves* Some Effects of Sexual Assault Immediate Effects often include: - Denial - Disassociation - Self-blame - Not reporting event - Anger Longer Term effects include: - Rape trauma syndrome - First feeling frequently feeling dirty, humiliation - Diminished self-worth, lack of confidence; heightened fear - Changes in personality and activities - Flashbacks - Problems around sexuality Social Effects Include: - Loose partners - Changes in relations with family, lovers, friends - Stigma - Change jobs, homes, etc. Rape/Sexual Assault Laws Before 1983 Rape: a male person commits rape when he forces a women who is not his wife to have sexual intercourse 1
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