In brief: new study finds girls view sexual violence as normal
A new study titled ‘Normalising Sexual Violence: Young Women Account for Harrassment and Abuse’, published in Gender & Society, has found that girls and young women will rarely report incidents of sexual violence because they view them as ‘normal.’
The study analysed interviews conducted by the Children’s Advocacy Center with 100 young women between the ages of three and seventeen, who may have been sexually assaulted.
According to the findings of the research, it was common for the young women to trivialise their experiences of sexual harassment or assault, and that ‘objectification, sexual harassment, and abuse appear to be part of the fabric of young women’s lives.’
Incidences of assault or harassment appeared to be so ingrained into their experiences that they didn’t see them as particularly unacceptable or inappropriate.
The study concludes that ‘young women often held themselves and their peers responsible for acting as gatekeepers of men’s behaviours; they were responsible for being coerced, for accepting gifts and other resources, for not fending off or resisting men’s sexual advances…’
While the results of the study are disgusting and eye opening, they are unfortunately not very surprising for those who continue to speak out about and struggle against the rape culture that exists in Western society.
Callie Beusman over at Jezebel, hits the nail on the head when she says the ‘banality of sexual assault is what makes it so oppressive.’