Is Sexual Violence Actually Normal?

In really upsetting news, a new report revealed that many young girls think sexual violence is normal. I wish this was some sort of awful joke, but it’s not.

According to a study called “Normalizing Sexual Violence: Young Women Account for Harassment and Abuse,” many sexual assaults aren’t reported because the victims see sexual assault as something normal. Sociologist Heather Hlavka at Marquette University composed the study after analyzing interviews from the Children’s Advocacy Center of 100 girls ages three to 17.

Her analysis revealed that a majority of the girls found sexual violence against them to be normal and that they experience some form of sexual violence everyday. 13-year-old Patricia said in her interview, “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.”

You guys, this is not okay. The study also reveals that many girls justify sexual violence under the belief that men just can’t help it. 13-year-old Carla said, “He told me . . . he was like, ‘I’m gonna come over to your house and rape you.’ And then, I know he’s just joking, but that can be a little weird to hear.” Hlavka explains that Carla normalizes this threat by calling it weird and trivializes it by saying her harasser is joking. Carla never told anyone this was happening because it was such a common occurrence so she thought it was normal.

That is not normal. Being told you’re going to be raped by a classmate everyday is NOT normal. Being harassed like that is sexual violence.

What exactly counts as sexual violence? Sexual violence, which includes rape, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, incest, unwanted or inappropriate sexual contact (like groping), sexual harassment, exposure, stalking and cyberstalking, threats, peeping and statutory rape, is NOT normal.

The report also shows that these girls “did not want to make a ‘big deal’ out of their experiences and rarely reported these incidents to persons in authority.” They think that being touched or being forced to perform oral sex does not count as sexual assault.

They also don’t want to be labeled as sluts or whores and seem to be skeptical of other girls who have been assaulted. 15-year-old Jackie spoke about her friend who reported her sexual assault by a mutual friend, “I don’t know why she’s making such a big deal out of it anyway. He does it to everyone, so I say, well, ‘Just back off,’ I say ‘No’—so she should if she don’t want it, but she probably wants it anyway.”

Hlavka says that women are seen to be “gatekeepers” of sexual activity and that girls are being blamed for not establishing their boundaries enough. Saying “No” is supposed to be enough, but many girls don’t believe that to be the case.

Y’all, this has to stop. Sexual violence should never be considered normal or just something that happens in everyday life. Maybe it’s thought of as normal because it is happening so often, but it should always be a big deal.

It breaks my heart knowing that there are so many instances of sexual violence going unreported because a girl is scared to be labeled a slut for an assault on her body or because she thinks it’s just the way things are in this world. Sexual violence is not normal. The sooner we start treating sexual violence like it’s not normal, the sooner we can fix this problem.
 
What do you think about this study? Do you think sexual violence is normal? Tell us in the comments!
 

6 things you need to do if you’re sexually assaulted

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  • tee

    I mean I can understand how they are scared to be labeled as sluts because for almost 2 years of my life I would sneak out and meet guys for a “Date” and they would take me to the movies but afterwards we would go to a park and they would just get on top of me in the back seat and I felt thats what you did to thank a dude for taking you out for long time I thought that was normal and now I’m struggling with the fact that I Might have let myself get raped… but idk this is my first time telling …

  • Marina

    When I was 14 an ex forced me to give him oral. For over a year I was so ashamed of it that I didn’t tell anyone. It wasn’t until much later that I realised his actions were wrong, and I only recently accepted that it was sexual assault

  • amarantharayne

    It’s bad to say but it is normal among kids in middle school and high school. I don’t know where it came from but all these jokes about rape and being stalked is thrown around in everyday conversations so much that its becoming something that’s just said.People don’t actually expect a person to stalk or rape them so they dismiss it as a joke and carry on.

  • Yang

    Selon moi, les violences sexuelles ne sont pas normales. C’est des actes illégals et il faut les signaler à une autorité.

    À mon avis, les filles ne signalent pas les actes qu’ elles subissent ( paroles ou gestes de l’agresseur) ,car elles ont peur de faire prendre au ridicule et de ne pas se faire prendre au sérieux par une autorité( ex: professeur direction).

    Exemple, une fille désir dire à son professeur qu’ il y a un gars qui lui a donnée une tape sur le postérieur prendant 1 seconde. Cette fille ira t-elle vraiment le dénoncer à quelqun ? Est ce que le professeur va la prendre pour une conneou une cinglée? L’évèment n’a durée qu’une seconde….

    Moi je ne crois pas que la fille ira le dire à quelqu’un , car l’acte n’a durée qu’une seconde et le gars est parti comme de rien était. la fille , comme mentionnée dans l’article, va se dire « ha c’est normal , il m’ a juste accroché, il n’y a rien là à s’inquiéter. En plus c’est juste une seconde ! Sûrement qu’il s’est trompé».

    En effet, aujourd’hui les personnes généralisent et ne savent plus qu’est-ce qu’une violence sexuelle et qu’est-ce qui n’est pas une violence sexuelle. Moi je dit qu’ils faut enseigner aux jeunes étudiants et étudiantes qu’est-ce qu’une violence sexuelleet les formes que celle-ci peut avoir ( exemple, attouchement non désiré) . Car j’ai l’impression que les filles victimes de violence sexuelles ne savent pas qu’est-ce qu’une violence sexuelle et leurs formes quele celle ci peut avoir. ( harcèlement, voyeurisme etc..). D’après moi, c’est pour cette raison qu’elles ne signalent pas les actes qu’elles subissent et les normalisent.

    For the english version , please copy and paste this text on « Gooogle traduction »

  • Isabella Tyson

    It’s not that sexual violence is normal, its just that from the time we hit puberty or even as soon as the first female classmate hits puberty we become aware of the possibility of sexual violence. We know as early as 9 that we can be raped, beaten or forced to do some other sexual act completely against our will. And we have to live with that threat for the rest of our lives.
    I am 5’8″ 185lb of muscle. I am not an easy target but when I am walking alone and a guy comes up behind me or passes me, its this little tiny voice whispering to me “they could hurt you”. I have friends (not that they have given any inclination that they would) that I have wondered ‘would they hurt me, could they?’

    Its a fear in the back of our minds, and that fear becomes a part of us, like breathing. Its not that the violence is normal its that our fear of it is.