Session 5 Sexual Violence (2016)Apunte Inglés
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SESSION 5: SEXUAL VIOLENCE
“Any sexual act or attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, or
acts to traffic, or otherwise directed, against a person's sexuality using coercion, by any person
regardless of their relationship to the victim, in any setting, including but not limited to home
and work” (WHO)
Sexual violence as GBV
It can occur anybody at any age, but most of victims are women and girls, or sexual violence
against LGTB people (corrective rape). Perpetrators include parents, caregivers, acquaintances
(teachers) and strangers, as well as intimate partners.
Criminological explanations - Biological theories: sexuality and reproduction or hereto-normative.
- Sociological theories: learnt behaviour (child abuse), strong patriarchal family structures or normative environments (social and legal).
- Feminist theories.
o Dominance approach (radical feminists). Sexual crimes are rarely “crimes of passion” and are rather aggressive acts that frequently aim to express power and dominance over the victim. Discrimination by men against women (men and women are treated differently on the basis of their sex); power dynamics in society; harassing behavior and sexual violence are based on sex stereotypes: women as passive.
Sexual violence Many crimes are considered forms of sexual violence (but not all forms of sexual violence are crimes): sexual harassment, sexual abuse, rape, forced marriage, forces prostitution, etc.
Sexual harassment Is a social practice that for centuries had no name. Most frequent types: street harassment or public transportation, workplace or online. In 1970 it started to be known as “sexual harassment” because of the second wave feminists.
Street harassment Limited statistical and academic research. Formal and informal surveys suggest that the majority have undergone some form of street harassment.
It is often excused as a cultural practice. It is not recognized as an unlawful behavior, or social trivialization (women has lack of humor).
Continuum of GBVAW “Violence against women is not the result of random, individual acts of misconduct, but rather is deeply rooted in structural relationships of inequality between women and men…Violence constitutes a continuum across the lifespan of women, from before birth to old age. It cuts across both the public and the private spheres” (Ending Violence Against Women: from Words to Action, UN Secretary General’s Report, 2006) Groping and crime prevention Street harassment may include other forms of sexual abuse / sexual assault, as groping: Prevention campaigns, ex: UK; Situational crime prevention measures: Ex: women-only passengers cars (Japan -1stcountry, 1912-, Egypt, Mexico).
Criticism of segregated transportation It emphasizes women’s responsibility. Women must take care of themselves by avoiding contact with men (victim blaming). The victim of a crime or any type of abusive maltreatment is held as wholly or partially responsible for the wrongful conduct committed against her.
It may come from legal, medical, mental health professionals, from the media, immediate family members and other acquaintances. Victim blaming can be attributed the misconceptions about victims, perpetrators, and the nature of violent acts (is frequent in sexual crimes and GBVAW in general).
Importance of the study of street harassment / violence As it is repetitive and not treated as a serious offense, it may lead to an increased sense of vulnerability. That vulnerability probably explains women’s fear of crime. Although traditional victimization surveys demonstrate that young men are at the highest risk for victimization, women consistently report, on average, fear of crime that is three times higher than males (Stanko,1992) Women’s fear of crime “Fear of crime paradox” may fail to capture the lived experiences of women’s physical and sexual violence. The standard approach from analyzing GBVAW as episodic and deviant incidents of extreme cruelty and harm. GBVAW is normative and functional: an everyday context for the lives and experiences of women and girls all over the world.
It cannot capture the pervasive effect of sexual harassment. You adjust your behavior because an attack suffered years ago.
In general, different forms of GBVAW (continuum) -> produce insecurity and fear.
Women alter their routines to avoid or manage risky situations.
“The past experiences that women have had with strangers(being followed, receiving unwanted attention, and having received obscene phone calls) and the daily protective routines women engage in, are more salient predictors of fear than more basic demographic variables” (Scott, 2003).
Sexual harassment in the workplace Workplace is another space where historically women have been excluded. Until recently, it had not been recognized as a form of “discrimination” or “unlawful” behavior, but rather was seen as a “private issue”.
Sexual harassment, Article 2(2): Any form of unwanted verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person, in particular when creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.
It is conceived as a form of sex discrimination and a violation of dignity. Employers are encouraged to take preventive measures against sexual harassment and to provide employees with appropriate information on equal treatment for women and men in the workplace.
Research Sexual harassment is reported by three times as many women as men.
Employees whose jobs are customer-oriented are more likely to experience sexual harassment (third party violence). There is a concentration of women in these sectors.
Women on fixed-term contracts or temporary agency workers report higher levels than those on indefinite contracts.
Younger employees are more exposed than older ones.
Women in male-dominated sectors are more likely to be harassed.
Rape: sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration perpetrated against a person without that person’s consent. It may be accomplished: - By fear, threats of harm, and/or actual physical force.
- When the victim is unable to give consent, or is prevented from resisting, due to being intoxicated, drugged, unconscious, or asleep.
- Statutory Rape is a sexual relation with a partner who is below the age required to legally consent to engage in sexual intercourse (Spain: 16 years old).
Victims of rape Mostly women and girls. Also rape against LGTB people on corrective rape: aimed at “curing” lesbians or gays of their sexual orientation.
Social factors Stereotypes or Social Learning Theory: cultural traditions (imitation), rape myths (women desire to be raped), women lie (no means yes), women provoke men… Sanday (1981): Rape-free cultures. In rape-prone cultures men use rape to dominate or punish women.
Western societies depict rape as a sexually violent act performed by a stranger, often in the dark at a secluded location -> that is not the reality of most rapes.
Social perceptions Myths: attitudes and beliefs that are generally false but are widely and persistently held, and that serve to deny and justify male sexual aggression against women. Men have more rape myth supportive beliefs.
Stigmatization is often experienced by rape victims. The stigma appears when the affected person is disgraced, dishonored or otherwise tainted by the rape.
Negative social reactions - Victims use of alcohol at the time of assault.
- Victimization by acquaintances.
- Marital rape victims.
Negative reactions by formal support providers - Victim blaming responses.
- Rape prone culture.
CJS Responses Main concerns: - Low reporting rates.
Reasons are related to the fear of disbelief, of blame/judgement (based on rape myths), of family and friends knowing/public disclosure. Also distrust of the police/judge/legal process.
Fear of further intimidation or attack. Language or communication issues. Or divided loyalty (current/ex-intimates).
- Secondary victimization.
The re-traumatization of the sexual assault, abuse or rape victim, as an indirect result of assault which occurs through the responses of individuals and institutions to the victim.
Includes all those behaviors that the victims are suffering just because of the fact of going through the proceedings of the CJS. It is the re-traumatization of the sexual assault.
- High attrition rate (lost cases). Will not end up in a trial.
- Sentencing and recidivism.
*Also related to rape myths.
Importance of counteract secondary victimization At the individual level: Potential psychological benefits derived from participation in legal processes.
Some studies show victims may feel safer (if the perpetrator is found guilty and punished for the crime) sense of security also at community level.
At the CJS level: Increase in reporting rate and decrease of attrition rate in sexual crimes.
Attrition rate: the highest proportion of cases is lost at the earliest stages. Between 50-75% drop out at the investigative stage. Withdrawal by complainants is one of the most important elements (34%).
Sentencing Prison: Treatment in prison: sex offenders are highly heterogeneous and not all of them are at high-risk for re-offending. Challenges for treatment -> disclosure problem.
Post release measures: Sex offender registration.
Supervision –reduce recidivism–UK, USA, Canada.
Problem: are convicted sex offenders the most “dangerous” sex offenders? Sex offender risk assessment recidivism research has to be placed in the context of attrition in the CJS. Minority of cases that secure conviction are not reflective of the most common or injurious forms of sexual violence experienced by women and children (“real rape” vs. simple rape): Strangers: social class, previous convictions or arrests, substance abuse, etc.
But women assaulted by partners are at higher risk of repeat victimization.