An Introduction to Sexual Assault

The next four posts will surround sexual assault. Sexual assault occurs globally and is more common than we may think. This topic was a natural choice for me due to both personal experience and training I have taken. As far as topics go sexual assault often is kept to a whisper.

WHISPER… yes… WHISPER

We want to hear you, we want to know what you have to say, we want to help encourage you to move on, to get better, to start new. We want to help you heal your pain. We want to lift you up… We want to hear your story, listen to your voice, feel your pain. We want to make a difference, we want to make a change…We want to stop the violence…Tell us, tell us please, tell us your story. Speak out. BUT… Could you please whisper… because really part of me does not want to hear, believe, or experience the horrific pain because then it is easier for me to rationalize that this sort of crime does not happen and can not happen to you or to me really….We need to believe that, so please whisper.

-Karen Kuntz

That poem was written by a southern Alberta rape victim, and I shared it with you because it has a significant impact on these next four posts. Rape and sexual assault are topics with little discourse because it truly is one of the most uncomfortable topics. The reason this is shocking is that 1 in 4 Canadian women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. While my posts will mainly view victims as female, this is not to say men do not also get sexually assaulted. I focus on women and may use female pronouns due to the fact in Canada 92% of victims are female. I also must pause to explain that while I can reiterate government statistics, it is incredibly important to note that sexual assault is massively under-reported, in fact only 10% of victims report this crime to the police.

http://www.sexassault.ca/statistics.htm

http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85f0033m/2010024/part-partie1-eng.htm

Before we dive further into the details, we must first make a crucial distinction: sexual assault versus rape.

Sexual assault is defined as “any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.”

Whereas Rape is defined as “the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”

https://www.justice.gov/ovw/sexual-assault

So Why Only 10%?

While there are many reasons sexual assault may go unreported the main reasons are fear, guilt, shame, stigma, embarrassment, Invasive rape kit, disbelief, and minimization. In 2007 police reported that 80% of cases the victim knew the perpetrator. It is also important to add some other statistics into that 10% that report. That is, that out of 310 reported rapes only 57 lead to arrests, 11 get referred to prosecutors, 7 lead to a felony conviction, and only 6 lead to incarceration.

https://www.rainn.org/statistics/criminal-justice-system

But What About False Reports?

Men Against Abuse Now state, “Only about 2% of all rape and related sex charges are determined to be false, the same percentage as for other felonies (FBI). So while they do happen, and they are very problematic when they do, people claim that allegations are false far more frequently than they are and far more frequently than for other crimes.  Put another way, we are much more likely to disbelieve a woman if she says she was raped than if she says she was robbed, but for no good reason.” So the question becomes if I was to tell you I was raped would you be any less likely to believe me than if I told you I was physically assaulted?

http://web.stanford.edu/group/maan/cgi-bin/?page_id=297

In the following weeks, we will further examine sexual assault and continue a discourse that has continuously been silenced. I will examine the complexities and myths and show the importance of continuing this discourse.

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3 thoughts on “An Introduction to Sexual Assault”

  1. Sexual assault is such a serious topic many individuals find it hard to discuss. I believe a large reason for that is because certain individuals are very sensitive about topics such as this, and having an open discussion can be hard, especially if opinions vary. One of the topics that bother me the most is the sexual assault that goes unreported for men. As you mentioned, 92% of victims are female, but also mentioned, only 10% come forward with it. With men, it’s believed to be far fewer than 10%, and largely thats based on shame, the image of not being a ‘man’, and even because the line of ‘what is sexual assault’ can become unclear. Many men may put up with torment or bodily intrusion because they believe, ‘a women can sexually assault me, it’s fine’. What I found interesting while looking into this was that for juveniles, 82% of victims are female, meaning a much larger percentage of juvenile boys are subject to sexual violence. (Rainn.org)
    Whats even more shocking comes from looking at the statistics inside prisons. “In 2008, it was estimated 216,000 inmates were sexually assaulted while serving time, according to the Department of Justice figures.” Outside of prison, there were only 90,479 cases of sexual assault in the same year. While women face sexual assault and rape in prison too (often from male guards too) men still have a higher rate of sexual violence and rape within their prison walls. So when we look at these stats, it’s shocking to reconsider that there are way more cases on men than actually realized, leaving the statistic that 92% of victims are female to possibly be untrue. Regardless, sexual assault and rape are very serious issues that everyone needs to be aware of.

    https://www.rainn.org/statistics/victims-sexual-violence

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2449454/More-men-raped-US-women-including-prison-sexual-abuse.html

    Like

  2. Reblogged this on Social cognition and commented:

    In 2015, a journalist from CBC News requested information about sexual assault across Canadian colleges, and universities. Several universities refused to participate; nonetheless, CBC obtained data of 38 reports (over five years).Timothy Sawa wrote an article with the recollected information about sexual violence in universities.

    The article suggests that the sexual assault is underreported in the universities because the lack of legal support they provide. The article’s author encourage students to report it, and he provided a contact mail timothy.sawa@cbc.ca

    This January 2017, CBC News published Elysha Enos article about Sexual violence widespread at Quebec universities. She interview Manon Bergeon, A scholar focused in sexual abuse survivors; she suggested that women experiencing severe physical partner violence showed self-blame/stigmatization, sexual anxiety, and anxiety related to assertiveness. Assertiveness related with anxiety leads survivors to feel unreasonable, unhelpful, confrontational, aggressive, or selfish and to devalue their own feelings over those of others.

    It is estimated that 1/5 students is sexually molested or assaulted in universities campus. The active participation of students is important to create the necessary support.

    Information about sexual violence is important in schools, Colleges and universities.

    I leave you here some links to with the ULETH policies and websites with useful information
    http://www.uleth.ca/sexual-violence-information/
    https://www.uleth.ca/campus-safety/assault
    http://ibelieveyou.info/

    Hébert M.,Bergeron M., (2008). Efficacy of a Group Intervention for Adult Women Survivors of Sexual Abuse. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse . Volume 16, 2007 – Issue 4. http://dx.doi.org/10.1300/J070v16n04_03

    Elysha Enos, CBC News. 2017.Sexual violence widespread at Quebec universities. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/sexual-assault-campus-quebec-victimization-1.3937527
    Timothy Sawa and Lori Ward, CBC News. Sex assault reporting on Canadian campuses worryingly low, say experts. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sex-assault-reporting-on-canadian-campuses-worryingly-low-say-experts-1.2948321

    Like

  3. In 2015, a journalist from CBC News requested information about sexual assault across Canadian colleges, and universities. Several universities refused to participate; nonetheless, CBC obtained data of 38 reports (over five years).Timothy Sawa wrote an article with the recollected information about sexual violence in universities.

    The article suggests that the sexual assault is underreported in the universities because the lack of legal support they provide. The article’s author encourage students to report it, and he provided a contact mail timothy.sawa@cbc.ca

    This January 2017, CBC News published Elysha Enos article about Sexual violence widespread at Quebec universities. She interview Manon Bergeon, A scholar focused in sexual abuse survivors; she suggested that women experiencing severe physical partner violence showed self-blame/stigmatization, sexual anxiety, and anxiety related to assertiveness. Assertiveness related with anxiety leads survivors to feel unreasonable, unhelpful, confrontational, aggressive, or selfish and to devalue their own feelings over those of others.

    It is estimated that 1/5 students is sexually molested or assaulted in universities campus. The active participation of students is important to create the necessary support.

    Information about sexual violence is important in schools, Colleges and universities.

    I leave you here some links to with the ULETH policies and websites with useful information
    http://www.uleth.ca/sexual-violence-information/
    https://www.uleth.ca/campus-safety/assault
    http://ibelieveyou.info/

    Hébert M.,Bergeron M., (2008). Efficacy of a Group Intervention for Adult Women Survivors of Sexual Abuse. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse . Volume 16, 2007 – Issue 4. http://dx.doi.org/10.1300/J070v16n04_03

    Elysha Enos, CBC News. 2017.Sexual violence widespread at Quebec universities. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/sexual-assault-campus-quebec-victimization-1.3937527
    Timothy Sawa and Lori Ward, CBC News. Sex assault reporting on Canadian campuses worryingly low, say experts. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sex-assault-reporting-on-canadian-campuses-worryingly-low-say-experts-1.2948321

    Like

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