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.
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)