Commentary

April 4, 2014

Sexual Assault Awareness Month: ‘Blurred Lines': Is it all hype?

Kimberly Shirley
Sexual Assault Prevention program manager

“Everybody get up, everybody get up, hey, hey, hey … hey, hey, hey … hey, hey, hey” and the lyrics go on.

Many of you can hear the catchy tune and are singing the song in your head right now. Yes, it’s “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke in his chart-topping song.

The chorus goes on to say, “And that’s why I’m gon’ take a good girl, I know you want it, I know you want it, I know you it, ‘Cuz you’re a good girl …”

What does it all mean? Are the lines really blurred as to what a girl wants?

The following is from an article abstract titled†”Blurred Lines?” Sexual Aggression and Barroom Culture, written by Kate Graham, a researcher and senior scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health at the University of Toronto:
Young women are often the targets of aggression when they’re out in bars, but the problem isn’t that guys are too drunk to know better. Instead, men are preying on women who have had too much to drink.

When researchers at the University of Toronto and the University of Washington observed young people’s behavior in bars, they found that the man’s aggressiveness didn’t match his level of intoxication. There was no relationship. Instead, men targeted women who were intoxicated.

The researchers hired and trained 140 young adults to go into bars in the Toronto area and note every incident of aggression they saw. They found that 25 percent of all incidents involved sexual aggression and 90 percent of the victims of sexual aggression were women being harassed by men.

Almost all of the aggression was physical, with about two-thirds of the aggressors physically touching women without consent. About 17 percent threatened contact and 9 percent verbally harassed their targets.

Men may perceive intoxicated women either as more amenable to advances or as easier targets who are less able to rebuff them because they don’t have their wits about them, the researchers say.

“There’s no reason that women should be touched against their will,” says Kate Graham, the study’s lead researcher and a senior scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health at the University of Toronto. Women wouldn’t accept that kind of behavior at school or on the street she notes, but it seems to get a pass in bars.

The study was published on Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research at the Wiley Online Library.

The researchers also wanted to look into whether unwanted sexual advances were intentional or just a matter of misperception. This study points to the former, Graham says.
“If you walk through a bar and grab a woman’s breasts and then disappear into the crowd, that’s probably not a misunderstanding,” she says. “You don’t actually think that she wants you to do that.”

The fact that men were more likely to take advantage of intoxicated women shows that most of these incidents aren’t well-intentioned, Graham says. And the bar staff rarely stepped in to stop the sexual aggression.

“There should be training for staff on how to intervene,” Graham says. “If [a bar] wants to have female patrons, they ought to make it more female friendly.”

Efforts have been launched in Washington, D.C. and around the country to do just that. They provide bar staff with free training on how to respond when they see sexual harassment.

The observers rated people’s level of intoxication based on the number of drinks they consumed and their behavior. Observers worked in pairs with one man and one woman to reduce potential bias.

Since the observations were made in public places in or around bars, the study doesn’t tell much about sexual assault or rape that might occur out of public view or after women leave a bar.

But the takeaway, Graham says, is that “people should stop believing that [Robin Thicke] song. The lines really aren’t that blurred.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

2015 Memorial Day message from 412th TW/CC

Team Edwards, Thank you for the outstanding welcome!†These past two months have been dynamic and exciting and I am honored to work with each and every one of you.†I truly appreciate your dedicated service and tireless efforts spent developing the needed capabilities for our Air Force and joint partners. This is my third assignment here...
 
 

This Memorial Day, reflect on true meaning

It was nearly 150 years ago that our nation first observed a day of remembrance for those who died in service to the United States of America. Over the years, more than one million American Soldiers, Sailors, Coast Guardsmen, Marines and Airmen have given their lives in defense of our great nation. We owe our...
 
 

Through our character – an opportunity to reflect on important issues in our community

- Memorial Day is a time to remember the men and women who died while serving in the country’s armed forces.  These brave Americans are part of a tradition of sacrifice, a theme highlighted in a recent book by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and Washington Post reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran called “For Love of Country: What...
 

 
Untitled-1

What’s your social thumbprint?

U.S. Air Force graphic by Staff Sgt. Jessica Hines Just as you would lock the front door of your home or secure your wallet, social media users should aim to lockup and secure their online personal information and do regular ch...
 
 

Have you really joined the Air Force yet?

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska–For those of us in uniform, particularly enlisted members, memories of how we came to be in the military are fairly easy to call to mind – whether the process was more than 20 years ago, or closer to 20 months ago. As I recall the experience, that trip to the Military...
 
 

Through our character – an opportunity to reflect on important issues in our community

“What do you do?”  That is the question most asked of people when they meet for the first time.  It implies that we are what we do. But deep down we know we are more than our job. Our character, personality, hobbies, and family life are not often considered when we meet. It would be...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>