Guardian Self Defense and Security Blog

Sexual Assault As Normal?

Here's a story from the Huffington Post about perceptions that young women have about Sexual Assaults. It raises one potential answer to why so many sexual assault crimes-nearly 250,000 a year ago-go unreported 60% of the time. The answer is many women do not see themselves as victims. A sociologist at Marquette University analyzed interviews with 100 girls between the ages of three and 17 who may have experienced sexual assault. Overwhelmingly, their accounts indicated sexual violence has been normalized in their communities and they considered harassment an everyday part of life rather than a criminal act. The same study identified several reasons why these assaults are not reported including; shame fear of retribution and mistrust of authority. "The most alarming conclusion, however, is that young women regard sexual violence against them as normal. Moreover, the girls interviewed believed that men 'can't help it' and perceived 'everyday harassment and abuse as normal male behavior." "One participant -- only 13 years old -- said harassment is standard in her school: 'They grab you, touch your butt and try to, like, touch you in the front, and run away, but it’s OK, I mean… I never think it’s a big thing because they do it to everyone.'" This study may account for many factors when it comes to sexual assault on women in high school and college and may even be a forerunner to domestic violence. People in position of authorities like teachers and parents must teach young men and young women that sexual violence is not acceptable before media and community norms give the impression that it is.
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