Incidents of sexual assault
by rodel1 on November 4, 2013 - 11:55pm
Sexual assault is a serious problem in modern western societies - it has drastic effects upon the psychological and physical health of its victims. The vast majority of the victims are women, making it an issue of health and safety for millions of women across westernized nations. This issue was addressed by Gwendolyn Gerber and Lindsay Cherneski in their recent article "Sexual Aggression Towards Women - Reducing the Prevalence". In their article, they note that acquaintance rape, or date rape, is far more common than stranger rape (50% - 80% of rape victims know their perpetrator (Cherniski & Gerber, 35)) and thus narrow their focus on that particular type. To begin, they present a definition of date rape to be applied in the article. According to Cherneski and Gerber, date rape is "unlawful sexual intercourse accomplished by force or fear with a person known to the victim who is not related by blood or marriage" (Cherniski & Gerber, 36). Further, Cherneski and Gerber believe that the best way to address this problem is to study the underlying factors related to date rape in order to create a better way of dealing with the issue than what is done currently. Factors that they note include that women are often unwilling to report instances of date rape, perhaps out of fear of reprisal, shame or humiliation, or fear that they will be blamed. This suggests that the actual level of date rape may be much higher than what is reported. Also, with many elements of rape, men tend to blame the victim more than they blame the perpetrator. In one particular example, two situations were presented. In one, a drunk man raped a female acquaintance, and in another, a sober man raped a drunk woman. In the first instance, the men surveyed almost universally responded that the man carried less blame since he was drunk. However, in the second scenario men tended to believe that the woman carried more blame due to the fact that she was intoxicated.
The framing of the problem is particularly interesting in this article. Cherneski and Gerber analyze the factors contributing to the problem in order to find the best way of improving instances of date rape across the nation. I liked this approach to the issue because it was fact-based and included many references to recent studies. In this way, they have shown credible evidence to back up their claim that victim blaming is rampant in cases of date rape. One thing that I didn't like was the limited scope of the article. Instead of branching out to include information on the scenarios in which date rapes occur or the types of people that often rape, the article only talked about the aftermath of the assault. I consider this a negative because "Reducing the Prevalence" is right in the title, but how can you reduce the prevalence without looking at the factors of scenario and personality types? Looking at scenarios in which date rape often occur would be incredibly useful because it would help to identify what social spheres need extra security, and examining the personality types of date rapists would be useful in profiling criminals in order to keep people safe. Overall it was a good, albeit narrow, look at this social problem.
Source: Cherniski, Lindsay, and Gwendolyn Gerber. "Sexual Aggression Towards Women - Reducing the Prevalence."Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1087.1 (2006): n. pag.Academic Search Complete. Web. 4 Nov. 2013.