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Sexual Coercion Ch 16.docx

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Psychology 2075
Corey Isaacs

Sexual Coercion 4/17/2013 12:52:00 PM Chapter 16 Sexual Assault  Prior to 1983, the Criminal Code’s legal definition of rape was heterosexual intercourse by a man with a woman who was not his wife o This limits rape to for heterosexual intercourse o The assailant was defined as male and the victim as female – women could not be charged and men could not be victims o Husbands could not be charged with raping their wives meaning a woman couldn’t legally refuse her husband o The victim’s prior sexual activities could be considered as evidence of her consent\  In 1983 the Criminal Code was amended to include three gender- neutral crimes of sexual assault that parallel the three levels of assault: o Sexual assault – any nonconsensual sexual activity ranging from unwanted touching to forced oral, anal or vaginal intercourse, to sexual violence in which the victim is found wounded or maimed or their life is endangered, or when the victim is incapable of giving consent o Sexual assault with a weapon causing serious injury, bodily harm or endangering their life o Aggravated sexual assault  Statistics o In 1993, Statistics Canada conducted the Violence Against Women Survey  39% of women reported having been sexually assaulted by a man since the age of 16  The rate of sexual assault has been decreasing since the 1990s, but only 8% of victims report the crime to the police  Sexual assault of women by acquaintances o Sexual assault by someone who is known to the victim, also known as “date rape” is much more frequent than sexual assault by a stranger o Research that examined sexual coercion in universities found considerably higher numbers  48% of university women reported having experienced coerced sexual activity involving pressure or force o Factors that explain why sexually aggressive men misperceive women’s communications:  Men tend to misperceive women’s warmth and friendliness as indicating sexual interest  Sexually aggressive men are likely to have a “suspicious schema” meaning that they generally believe that women do not communicate honestly, particularly when she communicates assertively that she’s rejecting them o Date-rape drugs  Rohypnol (roofie) – drug name for flunitrazepam, causes drowsiness or sleep and the man assaults the woman while she is asleep, and the drug causes the woman not to remember it the next day  GHB (G) – drug name for gamma hydroxyl butyrate, produces similar effects to alcohol but can cause hallucinations in larger doses and loss of consciousness when mixed with alcohol  Ketamine (K, vitamin K) – causes a combination of amnesia and hallucinations  Ecstasy (E) and Foxy Methoxy are also date-rape drugs  Spousal sexual assault of women – the sexual assault of a person by his or her current or former martial or common-law spouse  The impact of sexual assault on women o Emotional reactions  High levels of distress reach a peak three weeks after the assault and continue at a high level for the next month, followed by gradual improvement 2 or 3 months after the assault o Physical health  Cuts, bruises, vaginal pain or bleeding, irritation or damage to the throat by forced oral sex, rectal bleeding from forced anal sex, contraction of STIs, etc. o Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – long-term psychological distress suffered by someone who has experienced a terrifying event  Symptoms include re-experiencing the traumatic event through flashbacks and nightmares, avoiding stimuli associated with it (certain locations/activities), hyperarousal (sleep difficulties, difficulty concentration, irritability) o Post-traumatic growth – positive life changes and psychological development following exposure to trauma  Causes of sexual assault against women o Four major theoretical views of the nature of sexual assault:  Victim-precipitated sexual assault – holds that sexual assault is always caused by a women “asking for it”, blame the victim  Psychopathology of sex offenders – sexual assault is an act committed by a psychologically disturbed man  Feminist – feminist and learning theorists view sexual assault as the product of gender-role socialization in our culture which reinforces male aggression, gender inequality is both the cause and result in this view  Social disorganization – sociologists believe that crime rates, including sexual assault rates, increase after disruption to the social organization of a community, under such conditions the community can’t enforce its norms against the crime o Research indicates a number of factors contribute to sexual assault:  Cultural values – the more hostility that men from a culture express toward women on questionnaires, they higher the rate of women reporting being sexually coerced  Sexual scripts – adolescents quickly learn society’s expectations about dating and sex through culturally transmitted sexual scripts, these scripts support sexual assault when they convey the message that the man is supposed to be oversexed and the sexual aggressor  Early family – young men who are sexual aggressors are more likely to have been sexually abused themselves in childhood  Peer group – men who have abusive friends are more likely to use sexual aggression  Characteristics of the situation – sexual assault is more likely to occur in secluded places or at parties  Miscommunication – men interpreting a woman’s friendly or affectionate behaviour or sexy clothing as carrying a sexual message that she didn’t intend  Sex and power motives – feminists argue that sexual violence is an expression of power and dominance by men over women  Masculinity norms and men’s attitudes – men who have more hyper-masculine attitudes are more likely to have a history of sexual aggression  Men who are sexually aggressive against women o There is no typical sexually aggressive man o They do tend to be repeat offenders o Men who commit sexual assaults have certain characteristics:  They hold a number of social cognitions or “implicit theories” the support sexual assault, like believing that women are se
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