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Changing Perspectives on Sexual Assault


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Presentation to Los Angeles Sexology Associates on current research and media conversations on Sexual Misconduct.

Published in: Health & Medicine
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Changing Perspectives on Sexual Assault

  1. 1. Changing perspectives on sexual assault Dr. Leanna Wolfe Los Angeles Sexology Associates March 2, 2018
  2. 2. Overview • Anthropological Perspectives on Gender and Violence • Yanomamo • Inuit • Sexual Violence in India and Pakistan Today • Rape in India • Turbulent Protests and Conversations • US Media Conversations • Brock Turner, Stanford student convicted for rape • Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly • Donald Trump’s Groping Exposed • The Hunting Ground • Harvey Weinstein • Uncovering my Family Story of Sexual Violence • Deciding to Join a Conversation I’d spent my Professional Life Avoiding • Sexual Assault Research • Current Findings • Political Action • Protests in India • Women’s March • Denim Day • Me Too Movement • Re-Thinking Gender Dynamics
  3. 3. Traditional Inuit women would live in a quiet and sleepy way with little self- direction. Only when their hunting husbands returned home to the family igloo, would they spring into action to make tea and cook full meals.
  4. 4. Yanomami women live in a patriarchal and violent Amazonian jungle culture. If they attempt to run away from their home villages they typically are raped when seeking refuge in neighboring villages.
  5. 5. Winner of 2016 Oscar for best documentary short follows the survivor of a Pakistani Honor Killing. The subject ultimately forgives her father and his brothers for attempting to murder her.
  6. 6. 2015 Documentary film exposes the frequency of rape on US college campuses. A nationwide conversation is triggered as the complicity of school administrators is revealed who defend their dismissal of charges contending, “Boys will be Boys.”
  7. 7. Brock Turner, a Stanford student and athlete, is given a very short jail sentence for raping an intoxicated unconscious woman at a frat party in Jan. 2015. During the Spring 2016 trial, the victim’s statement goes viral while Turner’s father refers to the rape as “20 minutes of action.” Turner serves just 3 months in jail.
  8. 8. • Fox News Executives Create a Culture of Misogyny, Corruption and Hush Money • Women’s Complaints traditionally Dismissed/Ignored • Women Feared Public Shaming • 24+ Women Bring Down Roger Ailes • Gretchen Carlson Surveillance nets $20 M • Bill O’Reilly Personally Pays $32 M to News Analyst Lis Wiehl • 50+ Advertisers Abandon his News Show Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly
  9. 9. Sexual Assault becomes part of the national conversation in Fall 2016 when Presidential Candidate Donald Trump is shown in a 2005 news clip bragging about groping attractive women. 15+ Women Claim Sexual Misconduct Allegations since 1980s
  10. 10. Bill Cosby • Accusations between 1965 and 2008 • Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct • Rape (including drugging victims) • Pedophilia • Many Cases Beyond Statute of Limitations • Three Felony Cases Resulted in a Mistrial in June 2017
  11. 11. My family story My Mother at 11 Perpetrator, her older brother
  12. 12. My mother at 14 with her two sisters (who were not molested) and her mother.
  13. 13. My Mother ultimately emerged as a beautiful woman who did all she could to stuff away her childhood abuse.
  14. 14. I was first raped when I was 22 as a young anthropologist exploring Mexico’s gender divide.
  15. 15. Survey: What is sexual assault? • Voluntary Internet Survey • In Progress – Launched October 2016 • 296 Respondents • 69% female; 31% male • Average completion time: 8 minutes
  16. 16. Beliefs: males vs females
  17. 17. Beliefs: Millennials vs boomers
  18. 18. Activities Considered Sexual harassment
  19. 19. Incidence of Sexual Harassment
  20. 20. Incidence of sexual assault
  21. 21. Rape definitions
  22. 22. Incidence of rape
  23. 23. Those Raped 3+ Times 100% Female 76% White 12% Mixed 8% Asian 4% Hispanic Baby Boomers Gen X Millennials
  24. 24. Changing views on consent • Seduction requires converting a “No” into a “Maybe” and then into a “Yes” (150+ moves, Warren Farrell, Why Men are the Way They Are (1986) • Rape Myths • Women who Dress Provocatively • Leave a Party with a Guy • False Accusations Are Common • Consent Training • “No Means No” shifts to “Yes Means Yes” • Presumes Immediate Interest in full on sex… • Must all consent be verbal?
  25. 25. What “no means no” means
  26. 26. What “yes means yes” implies
  27. 27. Ever Asked to end a sexual encounter
  28. 28. Response to being asked to end a sexual encounter
  29. 29. THOSE WHO WOULD “FINISH UP QUICKLY” • Male (2/3) • Hispanic • 18-25 • Never Raped
  31. 31. Protestors in India seek justice following the December 2012 gang rape and subsequent death of a young woman on a bus.
  32. 32. On January 21, 2017, the day following the Trump inauguration, 2.7 million marchers across the globe asserted that women’s rights are not up for grabs!
  33. 33. MY BODY—MY CHOICE!
  34. 34. Denim Day – April 26, 2017 Commemorates the Italian Supreme Court’s reversal of a 1992 rape exoneration where the defense claimed the victim who was wearing tight denim jeans must have cooperated in removing them thus making the rape consensual.
  35. 35. • The New York Times publishes an exposé of women who have been subjected to sexual misconduct by producer Harvey Weinstein • October 5, 2017—story first published • To date 80+ Women Have Come Public with Stories from Sexual Harassment to Rape • Behaviors Documented beginnings in the 70s • Weinstein had a History of Pressuring Young Women • Many were Paid Off and then Forced to Sign Non-Disclosure Agreements • Used Private Investigators to Blackmail Victims into Silence • Maria Contreras Sweet Makes an Offer to Buy the Remains of the Weinstein Company Harvey Weinstein
  36. 36. • Via Social Media an International “Me Too” Movement Emerges • 85 countries • More than 12 Million Facebook Posts • 1.7 Million Twitter Posts with the Hashtag #MeToo
  37. 37. The celebrity witch hunt continues Kevin Spacey Accusations • 15 accusations of male-male groping • Production on House of Cards Suspended • Seeking “Evaluation and Treatment” Louis CK Accusations • Sexual Misconduct • 5 accusations from 10+ years ago • Release of “I Love You, Daddy” Delayed • Issues Statement of Apology
  38. 38. Sports physician Larry Nassar Convicted • “Treated” Female Gymnasts over two decades • Treatment was in fact sexual abuse with Nassar inserting his ungloved fingers into the vulvas of his young patients • Sentenced to 175 years in prison • More than 150 victims testified • Prior to the #Meetoo Movement women’s reports dismissed • Scott Blackmun, CEO of the US Olympic Committee, resigns
  39. 39. Steven wynn resigns • Transformed Las Vegas into a world class entertainment center • Accused by female employees of decades of sexual harassment and sexual coercion • Paid $7.5 million in 2005 to settle a sexual coercion claim • Stepped down from his position as CEO of the Wynn Resorts Empire to avert an “avalanche of negative publicity” • Resigned as Finance Chair of Republican National Committee • University of PA severs all ties
  40. 40. ROB PORTER, WHITE HOUSE TOP AID, RESIGNS • Accused by his two ex-wives of domestic violence • Well-documented Assaults • Chief of Staff John Kelly aware of accusations before they went public • Offers his own resignation • Porter was considered a “Rising Star” • Rhodes Scholar • BA and JD from Harvard University • Porter’s Mormon Church cited as a bastion of patriarchal violence against women • White House Speechwriter David Sorenson resigns over his own history of domestic violence accusations
  41. 41. A culture in turmoil…as “the List” expands to 51 accusations of men in power
  42. 42. “Bad sex” deconstructed Aziz Ansari • Bad Sex date with comedian Aziz Ansari ignites a new social media conversation • Report published anonymously in • The disconnect between how men and women can experience dating and sex exposed • 30% of women experience pain with vaginal intercourse (and 70% with anal penetration) • Large numbers of women do not tell their partners when it hurts… • Males think of “Bad Sex” as simply an unexciting or passive partner • Media Pundits (re: Andrew Sullivan) question whether #MeToo has gone too far
  43. 43. A WOMAN IS ACCUSED LA State Assembly Woman Cristina Garcia • A Silence Breaker who revealed her own story of sexual harassment while serving in the CA State Assembly • Activist for Women’s Rights • Accused of inappropriate sexual conduct • Groped two males at a 2014 legislative softball game • Stroked their buttocks and reached for the groin • Agrees to take an unpaid leave of absence during the investigation
  44. 44. “Cat Person” & the Self Deception of Dating Kristen Roupenian • New Yorker Fiction Story Goes Viral • 20-year old female college student and 34-year old guy meet, text a lot and generate expectations • Girl feels guilty that she has participated in arousing her date when she is no longer interested • She can’t say “No” though part of her wants to • He has no access to her inner dialogue • The two truly habit separate gender and cultural worlds
  45. 45. TAKE THE SURVEY!
  46. 46. Contact information Leanna Wolfe, PhD