Many victims of sexual assault do not report these crimes to family, school officials or police, and a new report on the normalization of sexual violence among young girls and women offers several insights into why this is; it also functions as a pretty harrowing primer on rape culture and its consequences.
Researchers at Marquette University analyzed forensic interviews with 100 young people between the ages of 3 and 17, many of whom spoke candidly about their daily experiences of sexual violence and harassment.
According to sociologist Heather Hlavka, many of the young people she interviewed viewed these incidents as a normal part of life. One interview subject told researchers, “They grab you, touch your butt and try to, like, touch you in the front, and run away, but it’s okay, I mean … I never think it’s a big thing because they do it to everyone.”
According to a release on the report, there are several of the reasons why young women do not come forward about the abuse they experience, including a belief that men “can’t help it” and a fear of being labeled a “whore”:
- Girls believe the myth that men can’t help it. The girls interviewed described men as unable to control their sexual desires, often framing men as the sexual aggressors and women as the gatekeepers of sexual activity. They perceived everyday harassment and abuse as normal male behavior, and as something to endure, ignore, or maneuver around.
- Many of the girls said that they didn’t report the incident because they didn’t want to make a “big deal” of their experiences. They doubted if anything outside of forcible heterosexual intercourse counted as an offense or rape.
- Lack of reporting may be linked to trust in authority figures. According to Hlavka, the girls seem to have internalized their position in a male-dominated, sexual context and likely assumed authority figures would also view them as “bad girls” who prompted the assault.
- Hlavka found that girls don’t support other girls when they report sexual violence. The young women expressed fear that they would be labeled as a “whore” or “slut,” or accused of exaggeration or lying by both authority figures and their peers, decreasing their likelihood of reporting sexual abuse.
— Teju Cole in conversation with Paul Morton “You Can’t Avert Your Eyes: The Millions Interviews Teju Cole”
nerd culture and gatekeeping authenticity is always just code for keeping out women and the underprivileged
There’s a great article about the hyper-white language of nerd culture by Mary Bucholtz, which was actually the first ~truly linguistic~ article I read and started me down this path from which there is NO RETURN. You can read it [here]
AHH, cynthia, this is so great! bookmarking for after work reading
Many of us find strength in the days and months and years we have stacked between ourselves and self-destruction, as if they form a wall that, if tall enough or thick enough, cannot be breached. We look to others whose stacks are higher and seem stronger to assure us that this is so.
But there is no wall, no number that will magically hold true any more than there’s a ‘cure.’ Recovery is a strong but slender thread spun daily."
A quote about addiction specifically but resonated with me regarding recovery in general.
Many writers have commented on the trend of wealthy Black people denying the importance of racism. And how it makes sense for them in some small and selfish sense because they’ve “made it.” Often due to tokenization and always on the backs of the remainder of their community. But they have made it regardless.
However, wealthy and famous Black folks aren’t the only ones who hold bootstrap ideology close to their hearts. These are regularly held conversations by very regular and normal non-rich Black people. And it’s easy to say that they’re silly and the “New Black” idea and others like it have no use for them since unlike Pharrell they can’t buy themselves out of any facet of racism. But there has to be a reason why bootstrap ideology has been a persistent line of thinking for Black people all throughout American history.
We like to believe we have more power than we actually do.
It is dis-empowering to admit that racism impacts us. It is dis-empowering to admit that we are limited by white supremacy. That our life chances are constricted by the pervasiveness of racism. And that we can be the hardest working person who does everything correctly and systematically and still face barriers.
We can have the best resume and still not get the job. We can dress in a suit or dress and still be deemed not professional enough. We can jump through every hoop and still be dehumanized and treated as a second class citizen.
This realization leads to a sort of heart-brokenness that many Black folks are not willing to face. The Pharrell’s of the world are certainly not ready. But neither are Black folks in the trenches. Those Black people who are not wealthy or famous. It’s not that any of us truly believe in the existence of a meritocracy since our first hand experiences teach us differently from birth. It is the fact that we can hardly afford not to believe.
We are afraid that it will be paralyzing to lose all of our belief in a meritocracy, to fully understand the consequences of white supremacy. This is the fundamental fear that drives “New Black.”"
an excerpt from “The Allure of Pharrell’s “New Black” But Why It’s Dangerous" @ One Black Girl. Many Words
dealanexmachina replied to your post:Basically, it went from ‘a stranger comes to town’ (Abbie’s story), to ‘hero goes on journey’ (Crane’s). Changing the focus did them no favours, and took them from this multifaceted story with an interesting partnership dynamic, to another story of a man doing anything to save the girl, and the girl who’s ‘so tough but really cares’ helping him. I’m not sure that was the intent, but was probably the easy way to turn. Hopefully they’ll get it together!:-/ ouch. hurts to think of it that way, but yeah.It is Fringe all over again: Olivia’s story becomes Peter’s journey. They just took 1 season instead of 5.