Friday, January 22, 2016

Phallic Friday - sexual assault

This article caught my eye today (you can read it here but it's not an easy read). It's an article about rape and sexual assault. University researchers (from Georgia State Uni) studied personal accounts of rape and sexual assault they found posted anonymously online and looks for trends as to why these assaults happen.

The researchers posed a question on Reddit and waited for people to respond. They asked perpetrators for 'their side of the story' and more than a thousand responses (that in itself is scary!).

They then used 68 responses to try to find patterns as to why these assaults happen (not sure why they only chose 68). The reasons for the assault fell into a few categories - they blamed male hormones/horniness; the victim; or a decline in their treatment of women over time.

The article mentions that many respondents questioned whether what they described was sexual assault. Not sure what they were after with that query, although the researchers wonder if it was 'getting it off their chest' (a confession). It makes me wonder if they wanted validation more than forgiveness.

Sexual assault is a power game...that's gone past the game state. It's the domination of one person over another.

Society gives mixed messages about domination. In some ways we laud it - especially in the media with sporting events where one team is applauded for annihilating another (eg football, rugby, soccer, basketball, etc), or one person over another (eg tennis, boxing, cycling, etc). We might like to watch a closely fought battle (eg crowds are up when the contest is evenly matched) but the headlines are made by an annihilation (eg when the 'home' team wins by a ridiculous amount).

We have 'hero' comics, books, TV shows, movies where one man/woman dominates, overcoming all manner of obstacles.

In these ways, we cheer for the dominator.

In reality, we don't want such a thing to happen, especially in personal relationships.

We're a society full of mixed messages. And then we wonder why society is screwed up.

I don't have any answers, just thinking as I read this article and wondering about how we've come to this. Do you have thoughts?

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