Shocking Sexual Assault Study Findings

Recently a 10 year study conducted by Heather Hlavka, an assistant professor of social and cultural sciences at Marquette University entitled “Normalizing Sexual Violence”, was published.

One of the reasons that professor Hlavka did the study was to investigate the long-held statistic about sexual assaults on college campuses: that as few as one out of 10 is ever reported. Her question is “why are so few sexual assaults reported?”

The study focuses on girls ages 11 to 17, but she also talked to individuals of both genders ages three to ten. The sample population drawn from a “forensic child advocacy center in the Midwest investigated occurrences of sexual assault on school buses, playgrounds, hallways and within school peer groups.”

She used what she called ‘traditional sexual scripts’ to talk about gender. “We say that boys will be boys and they can’t help themselves and then that girls are supposed to be the gatekeepers of sexual activity.” The premise is that these traditional sexual scripts create a double standard, one that girls cannot easily avoid.

If a female victim tries to report sexual violence, her peers often make her feel guilty for the actions of her assaulter. The professor found that girls criticize one another for not avoiding aggressive male behavior and also downplay sexual assault to each other as “no big deal” in order to prevent victims from reporting it.

One 13-year-old girl interviewed in the study said “they grab you, touch your butt and try to like touch you in the front and run away but it’s okay. It’s never a big thing because they do it to everyone.”

According to the professor, many of the young girls in the study did not indicate that they thought anything outside of forced intercourse counted as a sexual offense.

This kind of thinking will help explain why so few sexual assaults are reported by women especially on college campuses. One of the conclusions that she came up with in her study was that young women are not being taught to expect much from men.

We wish that the study would have delved into the subject more deeply and investigated where this type of behavior comes from. We and others feel that it’s a learned behavior. There is so much domestic abuse, not only in our country but around the world, that young men are bound to see sexual abuse as normal. It seems that it’s also seen as normal in the media on television, movies and social media.

We have always recommended that young women carry a self-defense product with them and then learn how to defend themselves with a self-defense course. They need to learn how to level the playing field against stronger young men. A pepper spray can disable an assailant for as long as 45 minutes in an assault situation.

This self-defense training DVD called Women’s Combat is one of the few targeted towards women and is perfect for young women.

We have 183 pepper sprays to choose from but this Hot Lips Spray is especially good for young women because it looks just like a lipstick dispenser.