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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Abuse & Assault » Another reminder about why "force" is a problematic way to talk about nonconsent

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Author Topic: Another reminder about why "force" is a problematic way to talk about nonconsent
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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We hear many people express self-blame or denials about sexual abuse and assault if and when physical "force" or violence beyond sexual violence wasn't part of their situation.

But the truth is not only that that's simply not how consent and nonconsent are any longer defined, and nonconsent very much includes coercion, but also that when people do not HAVE to use physical force or violence -- they often won't. And many people who do or will abuse or assault don't and won't: they are, sadly, good enough at manipulating and forcing with their words and emotions that no other kinds of force are needed. They get what they want, and the other person is NOT freely consenting to, that way. [Frown]

Here's a link to -- and some text from reporting on -- a new study that has found around one in ten teens have coerced someone, usually a romantic partner, sexually:

quote:
A new study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that one in ten teens said they had coerced another person into some form of sexual activity. In an online survey in 2010 and 2011, researchers asked 1,058 young people ages 14 to 21 whether they had ever “kissed, touched, or done anything sexual with another person when that person did not want you to?” The results surprised even the lead researcher, Michele Ybarra, who told NPR, “I don’t get creeped out very often, but this was wow.”

This intense reaction stems from the fact that 9 percent of teens said they had coerced another person. Specifically, 8 percent said they had kissed or touched someone when they knew that person did not want to, 3 percent said they “got someone to give in to unwilling sex,” 3 percent said they attempted rape, and 2 percent said they actually raped someone. (This adds to more than 9 percent because young people could admit to more than one behavior.)

According to the research, coercion and manipulation were more common than threats or physical force. Most of the young people who admitted to forcing someone into sexual behavior said they argued with the other person, pressured them, got angry, or tried to make the other person feel guilty. Purposely getting a victim drunk was also a common tactic. Only 8 percent of perpetrators said they threatened physical force, and only 5 percent used force. Victims were most often romantic partners.

The authors also note that 50 percent of all perpetrators said that the victim was responsible for the sexual violence. Moreover, most perpetrators said no one ever found out about their actions. The authors conclude, “Because victim blaming appears to be common while perpetrators experiencing consequences is not, there is urgent need for high school (and middle school) programs aimed at supporting bystander intervention.”

Though both males and females said they had used coercion, there were differences between the sexes. Males tended to start younger; for example, almost all of the perpetrators who said an incident had occurred when they were 15 or younger were male. At about age 18 or 19, the percent of perpetrators who are males or females begins to even out (52 percent and 48 percent, respectively). Regardless of their age, male perpetrators tended to have victims who were younger than they were, whereas females had victims who were older.

Link here: http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2013/10/09/new-study-finds-alarming-rate-of-sexual-coercion-among-teens-young-adults/

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Carpe Diem
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Right on sister!

I too think this is an issue that needs to be addressed further to aide survivors in their journey, part of which can sometimes include the process of realization that "force" itself is not required to define sexual abuse and/or assault in any way.

Speaking of the word "force", I have problems with that word when applied to these specific situations that include sexual assault/exploitation. Particularly because "force" can mean so many thing in innumerable ways to so many different people.

For the purpose of not babbling I will wrap this up since part of me knows I could go on and on regarding such subjects.

Thank you for bring this issue and information to the forfront.
In other words... Rock on Scaeteen!

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"Find a place inside where there's joy, and the joy will burn out the pain."
-Joseph Campbell

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crathes
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Good point. Sometimes people talk about "forcible rape" (???) or like if you didn't have a gun to your head, it wasn't assault. Well there's lots of other situations like when the person who is assaulted is a minor, is in a position where the atatcker has more power over them, is threatened by the attacker, is incapacitated in some way, etc. etc.
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