Sexual Violence

Do we care enough about sexual violence?

Globally, rape cases evoke a wide range of responses from different cultures and societies. On one hand, some sexual assaults that are reported spark social movements and call for change in a powerful way. On the other hand, many reports of rape result in the victims being silenced, shamed, and as a result, receiving little to no empathy from their communities. This article compares and contrasts two rape cases, and the massively different responses that society had to the victims. In New Delhi, the rape and murder of a physiotherapy student brought about a passionate social movement that resulted in the offenders being brought to justice. However, a reported rape case in Johannesburg was completely disregarded by both the government and society. In this article, the IRIN (news resource) challenges readers to think about why these different responses occur to the same intolerable crime. The authors look at studies of apathy and the “bystander effect” that have been studied since the 1960s, and they push for the need to counter these responses while rallying together as communities. This brief analysis brings hope and purpose to the bystander, and gives the reader a mission to end sexual assault.

IRIN.  “Do we care enough about sexual assault?” IRIN, Geneva, Switzerland: IRIN, 25 March 2014.  6 July 2016. <>.

Here’s the Full Transcript of Mic’s Interview with Joe Biden on Campus Sexual Assault

“It’s on Us” is a campaign started by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in 2014 to end campus sexual assault.  In April of 2016, VP Joe Biden had an interview with The Mic Team to talk about the program, address why colleges are not acknowledging the issue, discuss rape culture, and much more.  He tells his interviewer about some of his interactions with survivors of sexual assault and his experience in trying to end violence against women.  Overall, this is an informative article about what the US is doing about the issue, and how social change is making its way through the country to end sexual assault.

The Mic Team.  “Here’s the Full Transcript of Mic’s Interview with Joe Biden on Campus Sexual Assault” Identities.Mic, New York, NY: Mic, 13 April 2016. 17 July 2016.

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Sexual Violence and Individuals who Identify as LGBT

This research brief evaluates sexual violence directed towards the LGBTQ+ community.  People who identify as LGBTQ+ are more at risk in facing victimization than cisgender people. The LGBTQ+ community face extreme sexual violence from a majority of cis men and women, while people of color who also identify as LGBTQ+ experience even more overwhelming violence. It critical that cisgender people use their privilege to shed light on the trauma faced by the LGBTQ+ community, but not speak over their experiences.

LGBTQ+ people have higher rates of being victims of sexual violence or harassment. Transgender or gender-nonconforming people are more likely to experience harassment, sexual and physical assault, discrimination in the workplace, homelessness, incarceration, and much more.  Hate crimes are also of high risk for those who identify as LGBTQ+.

“Respondents who identified as transgender or gender non-conforming during grades K-12 reported significant rates of harassment (78%), physical assault (35%), and sexual violence (12%). Respondents who identified as American Indian, Asian, Black, and multiracial experienced higher rates of sexual violence than K-12 students of other races. More than 4 Sexual violence & individuals who identify as LGBTQ half (51%) of respondents who were harassed, physically assaulted, or sexually assaulted because of the gender expression in K-12 reported having attempted suicide.”

In this research brief, Gentlewarrior and Fountain compile and analyze statistical data to understand how gender-based violence can affect those who identify as something other than the “norm”, while giving information to help sexual assault advocates, medical personnel, and mental health professionals give aid to survivors of these acts.

Gentlewarrior & Fountain. “Sexual Violence and Individuals who Identify as LGBT” Culturally competent service provision to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender survivors of sexual violence, Pennsylvania:  National Sexual Violence Resource Center and Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, 2009. 10 July 2016. <>.

Sexual Violence in Conflict

In times of conflict, sexual violence is used to assert dominance and power.  Around the world, war causes both men and women to be seen no longer as individuals, but as representatives of the enemy.  These events occur because of social constructs in peacetime.  Women are seen as objects that must remain pure and maintain their family and community’s honor.  Men are seen as protectors who must remain strong at all times and be the breadwinners for their family and community.  Rape is something that can be used to take the position of power in war.

Men face a significant amount of sexual violence as well during war. In detention centers, men are subject to genital torture and castration. Homosexual men are even more at risk to experience genital mutilation as they are seen as feminine. Many males are ashamed to report sexual violence and their trauma in fear of being shunned from their communities and family.

This short compilation of articles offers a well balanced, sometimes dueling perspective on rape as a tool of war.  For even more information on this subject, check out the resources and references on the last page of this article.

Red Elephant Foundation, The. “Sexual Violence in Conflict” Insight on Conflict, Washington D.C.: Peace Direct, 2013.  24 July 2016. <>

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