Human Sexuality and Gender/Sexual violence

Sexual HarassmentEdit

Research on the topic of sexual harassment remains unclear whether or not it is a social problem. Unfortunately, this diminishes the ways to go about solving this issue. Hostile environment behavior such sexual jokes, side remarks, and physical touching that conflict with success in the workplace and other issues of that nature remain challenging for victims to report. Studies today tend to report lower prevalence rates of sexual harassment than do others due to the nonspecific and unclear questions asked, keeping the problem at existence. However, in 1993, Fitzgerald & Shullman used detailed and behaviorally based surveys to evoke clear responses yielding higher rates of this behavior in the work place while encouraging victims to feel more comfortable about discussing the issue. As social science researchers develop an improved understanding of the range and context of sexual harassment, it unfortunately became more difficult to deal with causing sexual harassment to cease to exist. In 1993, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that victims did not have to suffer severe psychological damage in order to claim that they were sexually harassed yielding a broader definition accepted by the Courts hopefully encouraging victims to report the problem rather than withholding this valuable information.[1]

Sexual harassment is most commonly seen today in the school setting. This peer-to-peer harassment has significant detrimental impacts on the victim, which can have a serious effect on his social well-being. Many educational leaders such as teachers or administrators view minor harassment as no more than "normal student behavior." The expression, "boys will be boys" comes from the mentality that boys will mutually tease each other and eventually mature out of that stage. Signs that students may be being harassed in school include: lack of attention in class, declining performance, skipping class, talking less in class, taking time off of school or stop coming all together. The best way to handle these issues is to address them as they come up and deciding on a solution for each individual case.[2]


Forcible rape or alcohol- or drug-facilitated rape, whether it be due to voluntary or involuntary drug or alcohol use, is a crime, a crime that is highly underreported. There are many stereotypes associated with rape that studies have shown are not true, such as only adult women are victims, the person that assaulted the victim was a stranger, and that males will not fall victim to sexual assault. Statistics on this state otherwise. Additionally, victims can develop long-term psychological issues after being sexually assaulted, commonly called posttraumatic stress disorder or PTSD. Once victims have been tested positive for PTSD, they can receive pharmaceutical and psychological treatment to help cope with their experience.[3]

Bystander intervention of the sexual assault actions or the act of rape itself could play a major role in the decline of the issue. The idea originated in 1964 through the murder case of Kitty Genovese who was assaulted publicly in front of numerous witnesses that chose not to intervene. One preventative action college campuses or the work place can take would be to simply educate people on the dangers of rape myths. In the findings of 2,338 conducted surveys, McMahon (2010) noted that one of most prominent rape myth involves bystanders judging whether to intervene against their perception of the rape victim’s “worthiness” of the assault. [4]

Many studies related to date and acquaintance rapes have been performed; however, these studies have not observed ethical effects on this issue. For example, Mills and Granoff (1992) surveyed 106 male and 113 female Hawaiian college students regarding date rape. One finding of interest was that about one-third of the men surveyed (29%) admitted to continuously passing sexual advances even after the female said no. Similarly, approximately 28% of the female students noted that they were victims of rape or attempted rape. [5]

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, someone is sexually assaulted every 2 minutes. (2009) The government estimates that 17.7 million women are survivors of rape or attempted rape that is 20%, or 1 in every 5 women. (Chessher.McDowell.2002) Although, these crimes are committed very frequently, they are the most underreported crimes with, 60% left unreported. Many health problems follow being raped. Most common is PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Pallavi Nishith, Ph.D., an associate research professor in the University of Missouri-St.Louis' psychology department, explained why these health problems arise. Often the physical symptoms don't get a chance to remit when the memory of the trauma and the patient's mental well-being are ignored. This can consequently have a long-term negative affect on the body. (Nishith.2002)[6] [7]

Minorities and AbuseEdit

Sexual Violence already effects millions of people in the United States, but this health problem is more common in minorities than in anybody else. Even though the prevalence rates may be the same between non-minority and minority, each minority group varies within their own subgroup. African American women were about 19%, Alaskan Native/American Indian women stood at a high of 34%,and 24% of mixed race women were known to report sexual violence at least some time in their lifetime (Plitcha et al 2009). Most commonly, the hardships of some minorities are what causes these acts in sexual violence, but most fail to realize that the same hardships are also preventing a better lifestyle. [8]

Studies show that minority adolescent women that have been abused have a high probability of teenage pregnancy, sexual diseases, and sex at an earlier age. For example, Champion et al. (2007) conducted a survey on African- American and Mexican- American women, aged 14-18. Participants were interviewed over demographics, interpersonal violence, sexual attitudes and behavior. Studies have shown that society impacts the decisions made by adolescent woman after being abused.[9]


Only 39% of rapes are reported each year and out of those, there is a 50.8% chance there will be an arrest made. Although this number is lower than it should be it could be much worse. With those arrested there is an 80% chance of them being prosecuted to face a charge, and 58% chance of them being convicted as well. There is on a 6% chance a rapist will ever spend a day in jail when the unreported 60% of rapes are factored in. Not surprisingly males are the last people to report their incidence although they make up 10% of the victims. 46% of people convicted of a rape charge and spend time in prison were rearrested within the next 3 years after their release from prision for another crime. This shows that a person is more likely to be a serial criminal than a serial rapist.


"Statistics | RAINN | Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network." RAINN | Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network | RAINN: The Nation's Largest Anti-sexual Assault Organization.One of “America’s 100 Best Charities" —Worth Magazine. Web. 10 May 2011. <>.


  1. Welsh, S. (1999). GENDER AND SEXUAL HARASSMENT. Annual Review of Sociology, 25(1), 169. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
  2. Montgomery, Emily.(2010). ME AND JULIO DOWN BY THE SCHOOL YARD. “Discriminary peer sexual harassment under Vermont law”35(2)30. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
  3. Kilpatrick, D. G., Amstadter, A. B., Resnick, H. S., & Ruggiero, K. J. (2007). Rape-Related PTSD: Issues and Interventions. Psychiatric Times, 24(7), 50-58. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
  4. McMahon, S. (2010). Rape Myth Beliefs and Bystander Attitudes Among Incoming College Students.Journal of American College Health, 59(1), 3-11. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
  5. Mills, C. S., & Granoff, B. J. (1992). Date and Acquaintance Rape among a Sample of College Students. Social Work, 37(6), 504-509. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
  6. SEX WITHOUT CONSENT IS RAPE. (2009). Tampa Bay Wellness, 24(11), 9. Retrieved from EBSCOhost
  7. Chessher, M., & Mcdowell, D. (2002). the future of RAPE. Health (Time Inc. Health), 16(2), 128. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
  8. Stacey B. Plichta, et al. "Minority Women Victims of Recent Sexual Violence: Disparities in Incident History." Journal of Women's Health (15409996) 19.3 (2010): 453-461. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 19 Apr. 2011
  9. “Attitudes and Beliefs Concerning Sexual Relationships Among Minority Adolescent Women”, Jane Dimmitt Champion, Jennifer L. Collins, Stephanie Reyes, Rebecca L. Rivera; “Issues in Mental Health Nursing”, Jul2009, Vol. 30 Issue 7, p436-442; 7p, 3 charts.