It's 2014 And Women Still Think Sexual Violence Is Normal
A new study reveals that women account for sexual assault, harassment and other abuse in a shocking way — they just think it's normal.
The survey, which will be published in the journal Gender & Society, shows that women normalize these experiences by simply assuming that these men's behavior is so widespread, that it's something that every woman experiences.
The belief that all women are subject to this kind of maltreatment leads many to underreport instances of sexual assault.
Since they think that these actions are something that every woman has to go through, they don't necessarily see the point in involving the police or other legal channels.
In order to collect data for the study, sociologist Heather Hlavka analyzed interviews that had been conducted with 100 women between the ages of 3 and 17.
These subjects, who had sadly and at such young ages been identified as potential sexual assault victims, indicated that because of their everyday experiences with abuse and harassment, they didn't find anything unusual with their victimization.
The study found that these young women rationalized their horrible treatment as something unavoidable since it was already so prevalent in their lives. Hlavka wrote that:
"Objectification, sexual harassment, and abuse appear to be part of the fabric of young women's lives. They had few available safe spaces; girls were harassed and assaulted at parties, in school, on the playground, on buses, and in cars.
Overwhelmingly described as 'normal stuff' that 'guys do' or tolerating what 'just happens,' young women's sexual desire and consent are largely absent. Sex was understood as something done to them."
Hlavka similarly found that many of these women avoided reporting sexual violence because they were afraid of the backlash from their peers, or didn't want to be labeled "whore" or "slut" if they came forward about what happened to them.
This paper's conclusions are seriously troubling, and just serve as further proof that a "rape culture" that makes things difficult for the victim while drawing up excuses for the perpetrator still exists within society.