• Internal Code :
  • Subject Code : 3012CCJ
  • University : Griffith University
  • Subject Name : Social science

Sexual Violence and Abuse

Table of contents

Introduction

Research questions

Literature review and hypothesis

Literature gaps

Sexual assault&violence in domestic environment

Key elements of the research design

Ethical concerns

Conclusion

References

Introduction

Sexual violence and abuse is a moot issue even in the 21st century. It can be defined as a form of sexual activity against a person's will and can be verbal or physical in which a person is forced to be a part of undesired sexual contact. It involves rape or attempt to rape, vaginal, oral or anal penetration, molestation and touching in an inappropriate manner and unwanted sexual intercourse. Sexual violence and abuse can have severe impact on physical and psychological health of and is a major threat to human rights. Women of different age groups are the common victim of sexual violence and abuse however, today even children are facing the same (Alexandria, et al., 2015). The worst part about this is that it is happening not only outside families, but people are facing intimate partnerships, localities and communities, and even in their families. According to (Basile, 2016). The survivor has to suffer from pain and trauma.

This report will look at different research questions related to sexual abuse and violence along with possible outcomes of those questions through reviewing literature and conducting research. The report will also analyse the already existing literature review who associated with sexual violence and abuse for in-depth understanding of different forms of sexual violence faced by people by gender and age and consequences. It will also determine the existing gas in the literature related to the provided topic. This report will further discuss the key elements of the project, the methodology and data collection methods used, and look at any sort of ethical concerns that are needed to be taken into consideration.

Research Questions

  1. What is the mindset of perpetrators committing sexual violence and abuse and how they do so?

  2. Who are the common victims (genderwise, agewise) of sexual violence and abuse? What are the reasons that the victims do not complain against these criminal activities?

Literature Review and Hypothesis

After reviewing a number of pieces of literature, following findings and outcomes were obtained that answers the above mentioned questions.

It is generally observed that most of the sexual assaults are gender specific and conducted by male adults. According to (Murphy, 2017), it is very important to understand the perception and mentality of perpetrators to get an in-depth knowledge about sexual assault and abuse. His report provides some interesting findings that states; there are mainly two kinds of rapists namely 'generalists' who are the general offenders that also commit sexual crimes and are mostly imprisoned while the others are 'specialist' whose major offence is is committing sexual assault leading to to violence. The specialist often remains undetected and most of the time are known ones for instance a family member, a teacher or a neighbour. It can be e manifested from the same report that these rapist of call these sexual acts as 'non consensual' rather than calling it a rape. For them, the age of a person does not matter therefore they even rape children.

Further looking into what is responsible for making a rapist carry out this evil crime along with violence, an interview with a convicted rapist conducted by (Jalan, 2015), illustrated that the culprit himself was a survivor of prolonged sexual explanation when he was a child. He had faced violence and sexual assault which made him feel powerless and helpless at that time. Into his later life, the main reason behind most of his sexual offences and violent activities was to overpower the sense of powerlessness.

While looking at the reasons behind committing sexual assault and abuses, one of the culprits that are noticed are disadvantaged men who usually face rejection from women. They often take this rejection as a blot on their dignity and develop a feeling of hatred and rejection. Consequently, they tend to commit criminal activities that involve rape followed by murder or acid attacks. Considering sexual assault and abuse in domestic environment is mainly because the the culprits have been grown up in an male chauvinist environment with the mentality of keeping women under their foot.

The field that they have supreme authority of treating females in any way they like and ask them for having sexual intercourse without their consent and will. In order to show their superiority, these males beat their female partners causing them severe injuries. They have the mind set that they are allowed to treat women the way they want and consider themselves as their owners. This male chauvinism and male superior behaviour is responsible for sexual assaults at the workplaces, higher educational institutes, military etcetera.

It is commonly found out that the main victims of sexual assault and abuse are generally females of all the age groups and children (Hendriks, et al., 2018). It is noted that no matter if if a female is a teenager, adult or old, there is no major difference in the proportion of of sexual assault and violent activities against females. There is no link between the age of females and the mentality of the culprit to rape them. Almost equal proportion of adult females and old women suffer from domestic violence and physical connection against their consent and desire.

Not only are these, but an increasing number of children also becoming the victims of sexual assault at the rapid speed. This is usually because the criminals feel that children will not be able to confide in someone and their identity will not be revealed. Culprits reinforce their sexual desires and violent activities on the victims isolating them from their close one so that the service cannot have any conversation about what they have gone through. Majority of the cases, the victims of sexual assault and abuse are the only people who can identify the culprits but they generally don't speak up and deny the fact that they were sexually and physically abused and exploited Mann, & Angle, 2019).

The main reason behind this, the female victims are often afraid of not getting social acceptance after their sexual assault it becomes public. They are scared of shame and humiliation not only from the society but even from their own family members. They already suffer a lot and do not want to undergo humiliation and I want to live a normal life. Children are more vulnerable than the adults, they find it difficult to accept the harsh reality that they have been sexually abused and exploited. Most of the time they are in a dilemma about what is going on while the abuse takes place.

The culprits might form a strong connection with them before conducting sexual abuse and might call the whole act just a fun game. In some worse cases, children are threatened badly about keeping everything a secret which is the reason that they cannot tell anyone about the whole incident. Sometimes even the parents are not supportive of children and hence children are afraid to tell parents about the incident and various physical and mental challenges they suffer.

Literature Gaps

In the recent years, the number of cases of sexual abuse and violence has soared significantly (Rotenberg, & Cotter, 2018). There have been various researches and studies conducted in the same field as it is one of the emerging social issues that needs to be noticed and strict legal actions required to be taken to tackle this issue. However, the reviews of the literature depict some gaps in the existing studies. Most of the research is about females being victim of sexual abuse and violence nonetheless it is inevitable that sexual violence and abuse is also faced by men since the past.

Also, there has been little research about how the social and family environment is responsible for the abusive mentality of the culprit and how it can be changed. There is no mention about the preventions and measures that can be taken to control sexual violence and abuse. Apart from this, the researchers have not provided enough information about the gender which is targeted the most among children. There is also very limited information available why the offenders target children.

Sexual Assault & Violence in Domestic Environment

Intimate sexual abuse and domestic violence is the most common form of sexual assault and violence. There is no guarantee that home is always the safest place as there has been a sudden increase in in the cases of domestic violence and sexual abuse especially during the covid-19 lockdown situation (Usher, et al., 2020). In this type of cases, male members of the family are the major culprits and females have to undergo several physical and mental challenges as a survivor. The victim has to undergo humiliation, assaulting and abusive, aggressive and violent behavior, intimidation and threats.

In addition to physical difficulties such as chronic diseases and sexual disorders, the victim may also suffer from mental illness such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (Taylor, & Gasser, 2010). During these kinds of situations, the victim should not blame themselves and accept whatever is happening instead they should take actions against the perpetrators. The survivors can report police complaints against domestic abuse or contact women's helpline to get some help. It is also advisable to keep someone in proximity well informed and alert in case of increasing threats by discussing the problem with a trustworthy person in close relationship. Further research about domestic abuse and violence was conducted using different methodologies.

Key Elements of The Research Design

Quantitative Approach

A quantitative method was used in order to conduct this research that included taking personal interviews with the victims of different age groups without revealing their identities. The victims were mainly selected on the basis of their age, their interaction with the culprit, the relationship they share with the culprit, and the actions taken by them against offenders. Few of the interviews were conducted through phone calls whereas others were one on one. Apart from this, a survey was conducted which included long questionnaires that contain both close ended questions and open ended questions. The similarities of various participants were measured on a scale of 1 to 5. While conducting the interviews with the victims, few follow questions were also asked although very carefully keeping in mind that it was a very sensitive issue and people were not easily able to open up about their experiences.

Cross Sectional Approach

In addition to this, the current research is cross-sectional as the data collected through surveys and interviews was only collected at one point of time with fresh participants each time. The survey was completed by 20 participants who did not have follow up questions as the interviews. Cross-sectional method was used as it is relatively common and easier to conduct and useful to study populations (Watson, 2015). 

Step by Step Blueprint

First of all, the research was conducted by selecting the participants according to their age groups and gender. Further detailed interviews were conducted which was followed by collection of data through survey. All the information was gathered and analyzed to find potential outcomes.

A Qualitative and cross-sectional research method have been selected to get easy access to data directly from the victims.

Ethical Concerns

Doing research on sensitive topic like sexual violence and abuse is not an easy task and there are several difficulty and challenges faced while identifying and measuring violence and sexual assault as it takes place in the population. An application for ethical approval was made before beginning the research. All the participants voluntarily participated in interviews. They also took part in the surveys with their own consent (Yip, et al., 2016). Extreme importance was given to avoid any sort of emotional distress or psychological harm that could have occurred by any type of question asked.

Conclusion

The act of sexual abuse and violence is not only limited to sexual assault but also comprises of physical and emotional abuse. It can take place in in intimate partnerships, in families, at work please, in schools by known ones or by strangers. The report has answered few of the questions related to sexual violence and abuse. Also it has outline the main reason behind the sexual assault and violence in a domestic environment which is the concept of male being more superior to the female and therefore dominating them for any form of sexual violence. It has also discussed the key reasons why the victims do not open up about inequality and abuses against them. Furthermore, the report also identifies few of the measures that can be taken by the victims of sexual abuse in intimate partnerships. The report was prepared carefully keeping the anonymity and confidentiality of the participants.

References

Alexandrov, A., Kiryakova, T., Miteva, R., Timonov, P., & Christov, A. (2015). Sexual violence in childhood - literature review and statistical study of the problem. Researchgate publications, Accessed at https://www. researchgate.net/publications

Basile, K. (2016). sexual violence victimization and association with health in a community sample of African American woman. Journal of aggression maltreatment and trauma, 25(3), 231-253

Hendriks, B., Vandenberghe, A., Peeters, L., Roelens, K., & Keygnaert, I. (2018). Towards a more integrated and gender-sensitive care delivery for victims of sexual assault: key findings and recommendations from the Belgian sexual assault care centre …International journal for equity in health 17 (1), 1-10

Jalan, I. (2015). Into The Mind Of A Rapist: Man Opens Up About Why He Started Raping Women. ScoopWhoop. Accessed from https://www.scoopwhoop.com

Mann, A. & Naugle, A. E. (2019). Recovered Memory and Sexual Assault. Handbook of Sexual Assault and Sexual Assault Prevention, 323-335

Murphy, H. (2017). What Experts Know About Men who Rape? An evolutionary psychological perspective. Review of General Psychology, 12(1), 89-97.

Rotenberg, C., & Cotter, A. (2018). Police-reported sexual assaults in Canada before and after# MeToo, 2016 and 2017. Juristat: Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, 1-27

Taylor, S. C., & Gassner, L. (2010). Stemming the flow: challenges for policing adult sexual assault with regard to attrition rates and under‐reporting of sexual offences. Police Practice and Research: An International Journal 11 (3), 240-255

Usher, K., Bhullar, N.,Durkin, J., Gyamfi, N., & Jackson, D (2020).Family violence and COVID‐19: Increased vulnerability and reduced options for support. International journal of mental health nursing

Watson, R. (2015). Quantitative research. Nursing standard (royal College of nursing, Great Britain),. 29(31), 44

Yip, C., Han, R., & Sng, L. (2016). Legal and ethical issues in research. Indian Journal of anaesthesia, 60(9), 684-688

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