Research: new study finds girls view sexual violence as normal

Citation: Hlavka, H. (2014). Normalizing Sexual Violence: Young Women Account for Harassment and Abuse. Gender & Society, 28(3), pp.337-358.


Despite high rates of gendered violence among youth, very few young women report these incidents to authority figures. This study moves the discussion from the question of why young women do not report them toward how violence is produced, maintained, and normalized among youth. The girls in this study often did not name what law, researchers, and educators commonly identify as sexual harassment and abuse. How then, do girls name and make sense of victimization? Exploring violence via the lens of compulsory heterosexuality highlights the relational dynamics at play in this naming process. Forensic interviews with youth revealed patterns of heteronormative scripts appropriated to make sense of everyday harassment, violence, coercion, and consent. Findings inform discussions about the links between dominant discourses and sexual subjectivities as we try to better understand why many regard violence a normal part of life.

Link to full article page on Sage.

HT to lipmag:

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. (lip magazine)

Seven studies on mansplaining. Conclusion: it definitely exists

Below are summaries of studies into the idea of “mansplaining”, which describes the act of a man speaking to a woman with the assumption that she knows less than he does about the topic being discussed on the basis of her gender. 1

1. Women get interrupted more than men. Both men and women interrupt women more often than they interrupt men, according to a paper published earlier this year in the Journal of Language and Social Psychology. In that study, two researchers at George Washington University reported on an experiment where they put 20 women and 20 men in pairs, then recorded and transcribed their conversations. The result: Over the course of each three-minute conversation, women interrupted men just once, on average, but interrupted other women 2.8 times. Men interrupted their male conversation partner twice, on average, and interrupted the woman 2.6 times.

2. Men interrupt women to assert power. Not all interruptions are the same, of course—sometimes we interrupt people to be encouraging about what they’re saying. But a 1998 meta-analysis of 43 studies by two researchers at the University of California at Santa Cruz from 1998 found that men were more likely to interrupt women with the intent to assert dominance in the conversation, meaning men were interrupting to take over the conversation floor.  In mixed groups rather than a one-on-one conversation, men interrupted even more frequently.

Rest: Bitch Media.

1 ThinkProgress.

Research: What Looks Like Sexism and Why? The Effect of Comment Type and Perpetrator Type on Women’s Perceptions of Sexism

Very interesting indeed. We (potentially) grade sexist comments and perceive some comments (hostile and from strangers or bosses) to be more sexist than others (benevolent and from boyfriends).


Sexist comments are not perceived equally in the eyes of women. We extend previous research by examining the degree to which multiple types of potentially sexist comments made by multiple types of men are perceived as sexist. Further, we examine the degree to which three possible mediators—prototypicality, perceived intent, and interdependence—explained these effects. Female undergraduate students (N = 248) were randomly assigned to read a scenario in which a hostile sexist, benevolent sexist, or objectifying comment was made by one of three types of men: a stranger, their boss, or their boyfriend. Results demonstrate that hostile sexism was perceived as more sexist than benevolent sexism or objectification. Comments made by boyfriends were also rated as less sexist than those made by bosses or strangers. Furthermore, perceptions of prototypicality of the comment or perpetrator and perceived intent to harm mediated the effect of study manipulations on perceptions of sexism.

Riemer, A., Chaudoir, S. and Earnshaw, V. (2014). What Looks Like Sexism and Why? The Effect of Comment Type and Perpetrator Type on Women’s Perceptions of Sexism. The Journal of General Psychology, [online] 141(3), pp.263-279. Available at: [Accessed 11 Jul. 2014]. Full PDF (Taylor and Francis Online)

Poll: One in four British women think their main role is in home

Unexpected statistic here. Also, some interesting international comparisons.

Almost one in four British women believe their main role in life is to be a good wife and mother, an international study has found.

Women in the UK are almost as likely as men to hold a traditional view on the role of the sexes, it shows.

New global polling by Ipsos MORI found that British people are less traditionalist overall on the issue of gender than Americans, Germans or Australians but substantially more so than those in many other European countries including France, Spain, Italy and Sweden.

British women are just as likely to see their role in traditional terms as their counterparts in Turkey.

More than 16,000 people in 20 countries were polled as part of a survey of attitudes to a range of social issues to be published later this year.

On the Telegraph.

Two thirds of women in the US have been street harassed

I’m surprised, really, that it’s as low as 65%. That could be indication of how normalised and “acceptable” street harassment has become.

From feministing:

A new study commissioned by Stop Street Harassment reveals just how common street harassment is in the US. No surprise there.

Sixty-five percent of women say they’ve experienced street harassment at some point in their lives. More than half experienced verbal harassment and 41 percent experienced physical aggression. Twenty-three percent have been sexually touched, 20 percent have been followed, 14 percent had been flashed, and 9 percent have been forced to do something sexual. A quarter of men have also been harassed. LGBT men are more likely to be harassed than other men–most commonly with homophobic or transphobic slurs. The vast majority of harassers of both genders are men. And Black and Latin@s are more likely to be harassed than whites.

Rest: Two thirds of women in the US have been street harassed.

One third of Britons ‘admit being racially prejudiced’

One third of Britons 'admit being racially prejudiced'

One third of Britons ‘admit being racially prejudiced’

So the percentage of people who admit to being “somewhat” racist hasn’t changed hugely in 30 years (but that’s a fascinating finding in itself – so much for multiculturalism, etc.). Still, though, if you’re looking for quick explanations, 30% goes some way to explaining UKIP’s recent sweeps in the elections.

From the BBC:

Nearly a third of people in Britain admit being racially prejudiced, research has suggested. Social research organisation NatCen said the proportion had increased since the start of the century, returning to the level of 30 years ago. Its British Social Attitudes survey found 30% of more than 2,000 people polled described themselves as either “very” or “a little” race prejudiced.

NatCen chief executive Penny Young said the findings were “troubling”. The survey revealed that prejudice had risen since an all-time low of 25% of people in 2001. It also found wide variations currently across the country: 16% of people in inner London admitted to prejudice but the figure was 35% in the West Midlands. Older men in manual jobs were the most likely to say they were prejudiced, but the group recording the biggest rise was educated male professionals. Levels of racial prejudice increased with age, at 25% for 17- to 34-year-olds compared with 36% for over-55s. Education had an impact with 19% of those with a degree and 38% of those with no qualifications reporting racial prejudice. [Rest.]

Women use misogynistic terms on Twitter almost as often as men

A content analysis of tweets reveals that (1) misogynistic terms are frequent on twitter and they seem to be normalised (2) such terms are as likely to be used by women as men (assuming gender is easily identifiable on twitter).

Most surprising, however, were who we found using these words. Women are almost as likely to use ‘slut’, ‘whore’ and ‘rape’, both casually and offensively, as men. Judging by our automated analysis, accounts with male names used one of the words 116,530 times, and accounts with female names 94,546.

On wired:

Last week, Demos published a report that attempts to measure the amount and nature of misogyny we face today on Twitter. We were interested in the various contexts and occasions that three words — ‘rape’, ‘slut’ and ‘whore’ — were used by UK-based Twitter accounts. The volume that we found was enormous. Between December 26 2013 and 9 February 2014, from UK Twitter accounts, just over 100,000 contained the word ‘rape’, 48,000 ‘whore’ and 85,000 ‘slut’.

But how were these words actually used? We built algorithms (a description of the technology from the University of Sussex is here) and looked at the data closely ourselves to map out the broad contexts in which each word was deployed. As you would imagine, it was varied. A significant number of the tweets were sober, serious and non-offensive. 40 percent of the tweets containing ‘rape’ were reporting on news stories involving rape, or were involved in explicit activism against the misuse of the term. Likewise, about 10 percent of the uses of ‘slut’ and ‘whore’ were clearly non-offensive, often actually trying to do something about the problem of online misogyny.

Underneath this serious and responsible layer of news reportage and activism, we found a more problematic, and very large, grey zone of use. These tweets used ‘rape’, ‘slut’ and ‘whore’ in a normalised, apparently (in the eyes of the sender) casual way. 29 percent of tweets using rape did so non-literally, as in “Barcelona is going to rape Celtic next week” and 35 percent of uses of ‘slut’ and ‘whore’ were colloquial, conversational or apparently off-handed: “If I was pretty and skinny would be such a whore”. Linguistics research like this is often the art of drawing lines in the sand, and at the most serious end of this wide category were those 18 percent of tweets containing ‘slut’ and whore’ that were more obviously misogynistic, as in: “why take photos lookin like a slut and then moan when people say bad things?”

Most worrying were those tweets — 12 percent that contained ‘rape’, and 20 percent that contained ‘slut’ or ‘whore’ — that seemed to be a direct threat or insult. These were cases where the words were being most clearly drawn on as linguistic weapons with which to hurt and demean, to menace or harass. Out of context it is hard to tell how serious they really were, but they appeared to be beyond the casual, touching on something darker, more threatening and more serious.

Rest: here.

Gender language differences: women interrupted more (research)

Interesting methodology and findings. Emphasis added.


Recent research, though, suggests that the most important variable is not the sex of the person doing the talking, but that of the person being spoken to. According to a paper published Sunday in the online edition of the Journal of Language and Social Psychology, both men and women are more likely to interrupt and to use dependent clauses when speaking with a woman than with a man. Adrienne Hancock, a researcher at the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences at George Washington University, and Benjamin Rubin, a Master’s student, recruited 20 male and 20 female volunteers and instructed them to engage in two short conversations, one with a man and one with a woman.


In contrast with previous research, Hancock and Rubin didn’t find any significant differences in the way men and women spokebut they did find that having male or female conversation partners elicited different results. “When speaking with a female, participants interrupted more and used more dependent clauses than when speaking with a male,” they wrote. Over the course of each three-minute conversation, women, on average, interrupted men just once, but interrupted other women 2.8 times. Men interrupted their male conversation partner twice, on average, and interrupted the woman 2.6 times.

From newrepublic.

Sexual Assault on the College Campus (research paper)

From the discussion. (I have the full paper if anyone wants it.)

Scholarship on violence against women has proposed offense-specific explanations arguing that traditional criminology is insufficient to explain this unique form of offending. Schwartz and DeKeseredy’s (1997) male peer support model borrows some concepts from more general, traditional theories but applies them in a unique framework to explain the relationship between male group membership and sexual assault. This type of offense-specific explanation, however, runs the risk of being misspecified if more general explanations of criminal behavior are not considered. For example, Gottfredson and Hirschi’s (1990) general theory of crime has been a powerful explanation of offending. Despite significant criticisms of the theory (see Miller & Burack, 1993; Sellers, 1999), the empirical status of self-control as a predictor of offending has suggested the need to examine its predictive capacity for sexual assault in conjunction with more offense-specific theories, such as male peer support. Accordingly, the analyses presented here lead to three conclusions.

First, although not entirely supported in these results, some of the concepts that capture male peer support had significant effects on sexual assault both directly and indirectly. Group secrecy and peer pressure for sex directly affected sexual assault, and gender role ideology and informational support significantly predicted sexual assault through their impact on peer pressure for sex. Schwartz and DeKeseredy’s (1997) model has identified some important predictors of sexual assault, yet these factors were not necessarily or solely tied to fraternity membership. Specifically, fraternity membership did not significantly affect gender role ideology, informational support, or group secrecy. Rather, the only significant indirect impact of fraternity membership occurred through peer pressure for sex. In other words, fraternity members experienced greater levels of peer pressure to have sex, which, in turn, increased the likelihood of sexual assault. It may be that although the current analysis used fraternity membership to measure the effects of all-male groups, analyses investigating male peer support using different forms of organized male-only peers may produce different results. Indeed, male peer support can operate in other homosocial group contexts, and so results of this analysis should be considered only in the context of fraternity membership. That said, the findings presented here lend support to facets of the male peer support model, but not as it has been conceptually proposed and not without accounting for the role of self-control.

[research] Victim Blaming Others: Rape Myth Acceptance and the Just World Belief

This is an interesting study published in the journal of Feminist Criminology recently. It’s the about the extent to which rape myths are accepted (i.e. rape is normalised and excused) if individuals subscribe to a “just world belief” whereby people “get what they deserve”. It’s a grim outlook, particularly in relation to rape, and it is a disgusting way to excuse rape (or, worse, argue that someone deserved to be raped) but as the study indicates, it is prevalent (though not necessarily as clear-cut as it first appears). I have the full PDF, by the way, if anyone wants it.

Feminist Criminology, July 2013 issue.

Abstract: Rape myth acceptance which are false beliefs regarding the incidence of sexual assault, and are more prevalent among males, may influence how victims are treated. Acceptance of the just world belief (JWB), which argues that individuals believe that people get what they deserve, may be a predictor of rape myth acceptance. The present study examined the relationship among gender, belief in a just world, and rape myth acceptance. Findings suggest that while gender remained a significant predictor of rape myth acceptance the relationship between just world belief and rape myth acceptance was more complicated than hypothesized.

From findings: These findings may be understood through several possible explanations. First, gender, especially in the context of rape myth acceptance, remains a significant predictor because of society’s insistence on the normalization of sexual violence due to patriarchal attitudes toward the construction of gender (Schwartz & DeKeseredy, 1997). Second, it is possible that victim blaming, even within the context of rape myths, needs to be separated out as victim blaming-self versus victim blaming-other. Third, it is also possible that JWB is a unidimensional construct and JWB-other is unnecessary. [Link to PDF.]

“The bottom line is that saying there are differences in male and female brains is just not true.

The bottom line is that saying there are differences in male and female brains is just not true. There is pretty compelling evidence that any differences are tiny and are the result of environment not biology,” said Prof Rippon.

“You can’t pick up a brain and say ‘that’s a girls brain, or that’s a boys brain’ in the same way you can with the skeleton. They look the same.”

Prof Rippon points to earlier studies that showed the brains of London black cab drivers physically changed after they had acquired The Knowledge – an encyclopaedic recall of the capital’s streets.

She believes differences in male and female brains are due to similar cultural stimuli. A women’s brain may therefore become ‘wired’ for multi-tasking simply because society expects that of her and so she uses that part of her brain more often. The brain adapts in the same way as a muscle gets larger with extra use.

“What often isn’t picked up on is how plastic and permeable the brain is. It is changing throughout out lifetime.

“The world is full of stereotypical attitudes and unconscious bias. It is full of the drip, drip, drip of the gendered environment.”

Prof Rippon believes that gender differences appear early in western societies and are based on traditional stereotypes of how boys and girls should behave and which toys they should play with.

- Men and Women Do Not Have Different Brains, Claims Neuroscientist (via thegendercritic, rhrealitycheck)

Violence against women: an EU-wide survey: main results report

This FRA survey is the first of its kind on violence against women across the 28 Member States of the European Union (EU). It is based on interviews with 42,000 women across the EU, who were asked about their experiences of physical, sexual and psychological violence, including incidents of intimate partner violence (‘domestic violence’).

The survey also included questions on stalking, sexual harassment, and the role played by new technologies in women’s experiences of abuse. In addition, it asked about their experiences of violence in childhood. Based on the detailed findings, FRA suggests courses of action in different areas that are touched by violence against women and go beyond the narrow confines of criminal law, ranging from employment and health to the medium of new technologies.

Main findings from the report (link to pdf).

Extent of the problem

  • An estimated 13 million women in the EU have experienced physical violence in the course of 12 months before the survey interviews.
  • An estimated 3.7 million women in the EU have experienced sexual violence in the course of 12 months before the survey interviews.

Overall prevalence of physical and sexual violence

  • One in three women (33 %) has experienced physical and/or sexual violence since she was 15 years old.
  • Some 8 % of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in the 12 months before the survey interview.
  • Out of all women who have a (current or previous) partner, 22 % have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by a partner since the age of 15.

Characteristics of physical violence

  • Some 31 % of women have experienced one or more acts of physical violence since the age of 15. While women are most likely to indicate that they were pushed or shoved, excluding this form of violence has only a limited effect on the overall prevalence of physical violence, bringing it down from 31 % to 25 %. This result reflects the fact that many women who say they have been pushed or shoved have also experienced other forms of physical violence.

Characteristics of sexual violence

  • In total, 11 % of women have experienced some form of sexual violence since they were 15 years old,  either by a partner or some other person.
  • One in 20 women (5 %) has been raped since the age of 15.
  • Of those women who indicate they have been victims of sexual violence by a non-partner, almost one in 10 women indicates that more than one perpetrator was involved in the incident when describing the details of the most serious incident of sexual violence they have experienced.

Details of intimate partner violence

  • One third of victims (34 %) of physical violence by a previous partner experienced four or more different forms of physical violence.
  • The most common forms of physical violence involve pushing or shoving, slapping or grabbing, or pulling a woman’s hair.
  • Whereas in most cases violence by a previous partner occurred during the relationship, one in six women (16 %) who has been victimised by a previous partner experienced violence after the relationship had broken up.
  • Of those women who experienced violence by a previous partner and were pregnant during this relationship, 42 % experienced violence by this previous partner while pregnant. In comparison, 20 % experienced violence by their current partner while pregnant.

Details of non-partner violence

  • One in five women (22%) has experienced physical violence by someone other than their partner since the age of 15.

Violence against women: an EU-wide survey: main results report

New study finds that drinking doesn’t cause sexual aggression, predators target drunk women

A new study backs up what feminists have been saying for approximately ever about the relationship between drinking and rape. Namely, that alcohol–despite its impressive powers–neither magically turns well-meaning kids into sexual aggressors nor makes everything so topsy turvy that nobody has any clue what consent is and if they have it or gave it. Instead, sexual predators deliberately target intoxicated victims. 

NPR reports:

When researchers at the University of Toronto and the University of Washington observed young people’s behavior in bars, they found that the man’s aggressiveness didn’t match his level of intoxication. There was no relationship. Instead, men targeted women who were intoxicated. The researchers hired and trained 140 young adults to go into bars in the Toronto area and note every incident of aggression they saw. They found that 25 percent of all incidents involved sexual aggression. And 90 percent of the victims of sexual aggression were women being harassed by men.


New study finds that drinking doesn’t cause sexual aggression, predators target drunk women

“Every single decent man I know is hugely offended…

Every single decent man I know is hugely offended by the idea that he doesn’t have enough self-control over his sexual urges and genitalia to avoid seriously traumatizing another human being. The idea that men are ruled by their impulses and cannot exercise critical thought to control themselves is hugely insulting to men. And the myth is not just misandrist, it’s also used to prop up misogyny, by saying that men cannot be truly blamed for their sexual violence anymore than one can be blamed for blinking. As portrayed under this viewpoint, both are natural phenomena that are simply out of human control. One just happens to result in violence, usually against women.

- Australian Survey Shows Dangerous Attitudes Towards Violence Against Women (via amenenema)

Study: Viewing An Ultrasound Does Not Dissuade Women From Abortion

Important to know this in continued fight against the war on women. On RHrealitycheck:

With various states passing mandatory ultrasounds and crisis pregnancy centers focusing more of their efforts on getting ultrasound machines, it’s important to ask: Do ultrasounds even work the way that anti-choicers claim? The whole justification for mandatory ultrasounds is the claim that women who get them will be so overcome with excitement at seeing the embryo in their uterus that they will leap up and say, “Why didn’t anyone tell me that I was going to have a baby? Well, I’m definitely not getting that abortion now!” Indeed, so sure are anti-choicers that the shock of discovering that there’s an embryo in there will jolt women out of the abortion decision that one anti-choice activist said 90 percent of women seeking abortions change their mind upon seeing the ultrasound.

Pro-choice experts immediately knew that claim was a lie, because, unlike most people out there, we know that abortion providers often already make viewing the ultrasound available to patients, and they aren’t reporting 90 percent of their abortions being cancelled. But, as Katy Waldman at Slate reports, researchers decided to go ahead and do a thorough, scientific examination of the question. Published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, the study looked at a whopping 15,575 women coming in for abortion. All received an ultrasound and were offered a chance to look at it. Forty-two percent did. [Rest.]

Why should we focus on women in STEM?

It starts at A-levels, with fewer girls doing a-level in STEM subjects despite out performing boys at GCSE level. Fewer still continue to study STEM subjects at undergraduate level, and fewer at post-graduate. This trend continues through career progression, for example in academia, after PhD, fewer women become lecturers, then fewer become senior lecturers; on and on. Women disappear. Despite clear interest and aptitude in STEM subjects they vanish. But we don’t know why. This is the women in STEM problem.

From aroomofourown:

Cross-posted with permission from The Psychology Supercomputer:

 on Psychology, Science Communication, Women in Science and feminist issues. I also tweet as 


So, the question posed as the title for this post prompted a twitter discussion between myself and a friend the other day. The discuss got a bit heated, which some could see as a bad thing, personally I see it as a consequence of debate between passionate people. What came out of that debate though, is that I’ve thought about this question a lot, I assumed that everyone understood why this is an important issue and why we should be focussing on it now, but it seems that assumption May be wrong. I’ve been thinking about how best to explain it, and so I approached my friend to see if he’d be ok with me writing a post on this subject. I want to make clear, this is in no way a continuation of some imagined disagreement. He’s happy for me to write this, and I’m looking forward to coffee with him soon. There’s no personal vendetta here.

Right, so that’s the disclaimer out of the way. :)

Before I explain the why. I suppose I’d better explain the what. What is the women in STEM issue. For those that don’t know STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. And currently we have a problem in STEM subjects and careers. That problem is the low uptake of women. This is not just a recruitment problem, in fact you could argue it’s not a recruitment problem at all. Since girls tend to like and do well in STEM subjects through high school. The women in STEM problem is being referred to as the “leaky pipeline” – at each further stage of education and career progression the proportion of women to men drops. It starts at A-levels, with fewer girls doing a-level in STEM subjects despite out performing boys at GCSE level. Fewer still continue to study STEM subjects at undergraduate level, and fewer at post-graduate. This trend continues through career progression, for example in academia, after PhD, fewer women become lecturers, then fewer become senior lecturers; on and on. Women disappear. Despite clear interest and aptitude in STEM subjects they vanish. But we don’t know why. This is the women in STEM problem.

So, the why? The question raised in the discussion was why are we (as scientists, engineers etc. those involved in public engagement, the media, institutions and the government) placing such an emphasis on this problem? [Rest.]


Be Wary of Studies That Claim Men and Women’s Brains Are Wired Differently

A heads-up, just in case any of you were still inclined to take these studies at face value. On newrepublic:

The Wall Street Journal reported this week on a spate of controversial new studies suggesting behavioral differences between men and women are due to “hard-wiring” in the brain. In the most comprehensive study, published this month in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, biomedical scientists at the University of Pennsylvania compared brain images of nearly 1,000 men and women aged 8 to 22 and found that the connective tissues between the two hemispheres developed differently in men and women, particularly during adolescence—with significant behavioral consequences.

Women are mostly better connected left-to-right and right-to-left across the two brain hemispheres…Men are better connected within each hemisphere and from back-to-front. That suggests women might be better wired for multitasking and analytical thought, which require coordination of activity in both hemispheres. Men, in turn, may be better wired for more-focused tasks that require attention to one thing a time. But the researchers cautioned such conclusions are speculative.

The study has, unsurprisingly, attracted plenty of criticism—some of it informed, some of it less so. We shouldn’t ignore research whose implications we don’t like—but that seems to be the premise of one camp of critics, who call the study “too depressing to blog about” or claim that the researchers “threw a wet blanket on gender equality.” More convincing rebuttals come from scientists like Christian Jarrett, who argues that the researchers exaggerated the statistical significance of the differences between the male and female brains, and Cordelia Fine, author of Delusions of Gender, who suggests the differences the researchers identified might have more to do with differences in brain size than function. [Read the rest.]


Study Finds White Americans Believe They Experience More Racism Than African Americans

I shall let these findings speak for themselves but I think that the first thing that the respondents need to do is a crash-course on the nature of -ism and -obia and the power dynamics therein and think critically about how majority groups cannot, ever be on the receiving end of the racism (or sexism etc.) experienced by minority groups.

There’s a saying that “the new racism is to deny that racism exists.” If that is the case, it may explain a study conducted by researchers from Tufts University’s School of Arts and Sciences and Harvard Business School. Their findings claim that self-described white Americans believe they have “replaced blacks” as the primary victims of racial discrimination in contemporary America.

The authors say that their study highlights how the expectations of a “post-racial” society, predicted or imagined in the wake of Barack Obama’s presidency, has far from been achieved.

The study finds that while both Caucasian and African Americans agree that anti-black racism has decreased over the last 60 years, whites believe that anti-white racism has increased. Moreover, the study finds that the majority of Caucasians believe that anti-white racism is a “bigger problem” than what African Americans face. [Rest: politicalblindspot]

Teachers’ concerns at child sexualisation (research)

An indisputable trend now, I would say:

New research has revealed that many teachers are becoming increasingly concerned about the sexualisation of children, with a growing number of their pupils displaying behaviour that they view as inappropriate.

A team at Alder Hey Children’s Foundation Trust in Liverpool interviewed 22 teachers from primary, secondary and special schools. They found that a majority reported an increase in the frequency and intensity of sexualised conduct, including lewd language and pressuring behaviour.

Social networks and the wider media were seen as contributing to this, with children’s ideas of right and wrong being changed by cultural and technological influences.

The study also suggested that not enough is being done to help teachers in fighting this.

Presenting the findings at the annual conference of the British Psychological Society’s Division of Clinical Psychology in York, lead author Dr Frank McGuire said: “Teachers want to help, but despite examples of good practice, they report that a lack of training and guidance [limits] their ability to meet the needs of pupils.” [Rest.]

New study shows surprising trends on how people are lured into sex trafficking

From alternet:

Human trafficking is a serious problem in the United States that is complex and frequently misunderstood. The sensationalist trafficking narrative commonly depicted in the media and by activists has been fraught with exaggerated data and themes, which has often detracted from potential remedies.

A new  report released Wednesday by the Polaris Project helps to humanize the issue by providing a stark look into human trafficking trends in the United States, revealing that modern-day slavery is more prevalent in everyday life than most people realize. The study reveals that 9,298 cases of human trafficking have been reported to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC), a 24-hour national hotline call center servicing the United States for the last five years.


The report unearths some interesting statistics with regard to pimp-controlled sex trafficking situations. Of the 5,932 cases of sex trafficking, 42 percent were in a pimp-controlled situation, with over 40 percent of victims minors or under 18 years of age. Recruitment occurred mostly socially through a friend (32 percent of cases),with homeless shelters, rehab facilities and foster homes the next most common places for recruitment. The most common methods pimps used to recruit victims was to show romantic interest by acting as a boyfriend or girlfriend or intimate partner (51 percent of cases) or posing as a benefactor and offering necessities such as food (17 percent). While the narrative of abduction is popular in the media, forced abductions only accounted for a small percent of documented trafficking situations.  [Rest.]