What Does CDC’s New Data About Sexual Assault Reveal?
This survey’s findings are crucial because they debunk the common myths that rape is a female-only issue and the perpetrator is a stranger who jumps out of the bushes. Culturally, rape victims are assumed to be young, attractive women who cocktease and dress suggestively, which perpetuates the victim-blaming “she was asking for it” mentality. In accordance, their perpetrators are often imagined as lone men lurking in the shadows. Only after we realize the majority of victims and rapists fall outside of this stereotype can more effective prevention and rehabilation programs come into place.
Additionally, this study should to be lauded for its exploration of sexual violence beyond the terms of forced penetration, and the investigation of prominent, yet less publicized issues such as intimate partner violence and stalking. After all, a need for power is at the root of all violence, sexual or otherwise. It makes sense to frame domestic violence and stalking that way as well.
What is your response to the study? Are you surprised by the findings?