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Thread by @NBedera: "I'm a sociologist who studies adolescent sexual violence. In this thread, I offer the basic facts everyone should know about sexual assault […]" #Kavanaugh #StartByBelieving #MeToo

13 tweets, 5 min read
I'm a sociologist who studies adolescent sexual violence. In this thread, I offer the basic facts everyone should know about sexual assault to make sense of the #Kavanaugh allegations. (And citations in case you want to read up yourself.)
Sexual violence is common, especially among adolescents. The best studies estimate that as many as 10.8% of young men commit an act of rape before graduating from college. jamanetwork.com/journals/jamap…
Most of these men don't harbor a particular hatred for women, but instead use violence and harassment as a way to bond with other men and assert their masculinity. journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.117…
We have reason to believe that these masculinity-asserting behaviors are more severe among young men, including virgins. journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.117… and journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.117…
These behaviors are so common that girls and women commonly dismiss them or minimize their impact. Being sexually harassed or assaulted is just part of being around adolescent boys. journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.117…
But the impact of these actions can be long-lasting, especially if survivors don't seek (and receive) effective support and resources. This is why many women are still hurting years in the future, even if they didn't make much of the violence at the time. journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.111…
This is one reason why Dr. Ford and Ms. Ramirez might have waited to come forward. Women feel a pressure to minimize what happened, but it can be hard to ignore when the pain remains (and intensifies) over time. This is why a teenage rape often comes up in counseling as an adult.
Another reason is that sexual assault survivors aren't typically treated well when they make reports of sexual assault to any organization. Even organizations they trust and have close relationships with are apt to hurt them, compounding the trauma. onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.100…
That last study was about colleges, so here's one making a similar point about the criminal justice system and hospitals (where rape kits are collected). Point is, making a claim of sexual assault is hard and often harmful. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16047935
Regardless of their reasons for staying quiet, it's important to note that we should probably #StartByBelieving Dr. Ford and Ms. Ramirez since false allegations of sexual assault are actually really, really rare. journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.117…
The story unfolding about #Kavanaugh isn't sensational or that surprising to experts in this field. It's the story we have heard countless times in our interviews. It's the reason #MeToo went viral. This stuff is common---and that doesn't make it any less terrible.
We should absolutely take the allegations against #Kavanaugh seriously. Because the other thing underpinning sexual violence is sexist attitudes (especially when mixed with power--journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.117…) and they have no place on the Supreme Court.
And a new addition: we must add Julie Swetnick to the list of survivors coming forward under tough circumstances who deserve to be believed and heard.
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