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Psychology 2075
Corey Isaacs

Sexual Coercion Chapter 16 March 5, 2014 Sexual assault • Prior to 1983, the criminal code had 4 sections prohibiting forced sexual activity; rape, attempted rape. Indecent assault against a female, and indecent assault against a male • Rape only meant non consented sex between a heterosexual man and a women who was not his wife - Women could not be charged for rape - Only involved those who were heterosexual - Not a big deal to courts - Rapes made after the actual rape were not even looked at • To de- emphasize the sexual nature of the offence, theses offences were replaced with gender neutral crimes • Sexual assault: any non-consensual sexually activity ranging from unwanted touched, forced oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse, to sexual violence in which the victim is wounded or maimed or his or her life is endangered or when the victim is incapable of giving consent - Silence, inaction, ambiguous conduct, drunkenness, unconsciousness is NOT consent - Children under 16 CANNOT give consent - 39% of women Statistics • In 2009, almost 21,000 sexual assaults reported • Many women do not tell the police because: ­ They believe the police will not do anything ­ Want to keep the event private ­ Too embarrassed ­ Being afraid of not being believed ­ Fearing the perpetrator ­ Not wanting the perpetrator to get arrested • More common for men to be raped by other men SexualAssault of Women byAcquaintances • “Date rape” – people you know • True rates underestimated because many women do not report to the police • May use threats, hold them down, hurt them, blackmail • Occurs a lot in university, schools • Sexual coercion by a dating partner is associated with higher depression, lower self-esteem, and more negative sexual self-perceptions • Miscommunication may contribute to sexual assault during relationships • Many men believe “No means Yes” • Media shows females enjoying sex by sexual coercion • Two factors seem to explain why sexually aggressive men misinterpret women’s communication: 1) Men tend to misperceive women’s warmth and friendliness as indicating sexual interest 2) Sexually aggressive men are likely to have a “suspicious schema”, meaning they believe women do not communicate honestly, “just playing hard” • “Date rape drugs” – Rohypnol, GHB, and ketamine; easily slipped into women’s drinks, making them tired, and out of it Spousal SexualAssault of Women • How common?About 8% • The man who batters his female partner is also likely to force her to have sex • May do it out of anger, power, domination, sadism, desire for sex regardless of whether she is willing The impact of SexualAssault on Women • Effects may last a long time; peak 3 weeks after assault • More fear, anxiety, low self-esteem, sexual problems, self blame • Tendency for society to “blame the victim”, especially if drugs and alcohol are involved • May suffer from vaginal tearing, bruises, sore throat, STD’S, PTSD (especially when women avoids thinking about it) • Some may even experience Post- traumatic growth: Positive life changes ad psychological development following exposure to trauma Causes of SexualAssaultAgainst Women • 4 theoretical views: 1) Victim- precipitated sexual assault: this view holds that a sexual assault is always caused by a woman “asking for it.’Sexual assault then. Is considered the women’s fault. “Blame the victim.” 2) Psychopathy of sex offenders: this view holds that sexual assault is an act committed by a psychologically disturbed man. His deviance is responsible for the crime occurring. 3) Feminist: View sexual assault as the product of gender- role socialization in our culture, which reinforces and legitimizes male aggression in general and sexual coercion. They believe men use sex to demonstrate their power over women or to use their power over women to get sex. Gender inequality is both the cause and the result of sexual assault in this view. 4) Social disorganization: Sociologists believe that the crime rates, including sexual assault rates, increase after disruption to the social organization of a community. Under such conditions the community cannot enforce its norms against crime. • Cultural values: may support sexual assault • Sexual scripts: play a role in sexual aggression, may convey the message that men are “sexual aggressors.” Boys may see sexual coercion as a normal part of the sexual script. • Early family influences: may shape a man into a sexual aggressor; they may have been sexually abused themselves • Peer Group: Those with abusive friends more likely to see sexual coercion as ok, they may be encouraged to use sexual aggression. • Characteristics of the situation: More likely to occur in secluded places or at parties, war. • Miscommunication: Partners most often do not ask consent from their partner directly but rather look for sexual cues. • Sex and power motives: power and dominance. • 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 SexuallyAggressiveAgainst Women • Tend to be repeat offenders • Often hold certain views: ­ They believe women are sexual objects, are dangerous and deceptive, the world is generally dangerous, certain behaviors occur from urges, and theses men feel entitled ­ More likely to have brain injuries as a child ­ Characterized by poor inhibition and self regulation; cant handle impulses ­ They lack empathy; fail to understand suffering that a sexual assault does to women ­ They may have experienced environmental triggers Ethnicity and SexualAssault Against Women • More common in Canada • Historical factors • Many countries view men as dominators, women are to agree, or “just go along with it” SexualAssault against Men • Underestimated by police reports • Most often by other gay or bisexual men • Higher on university campuses • Men are affected, perhaps not as much as females • Happens for same reasons it happens to women • Male victims more b
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