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defense against sexual violence

Randall Collins has  an extensive discussion of this topic at his blog. He asks whether theories of interpersonal violence can explain when women can successfully resist sexual assault. He starts with some simple observations – predators tend to focus on the weak; they often attack on “home turf” (e.g., their workplace or home); and they tend to attack people close to them (e.g., family, neighbors, co-workers).

Then, Collins uses media accounts of people who were attacked by Harvey Weinstein, and others, to explore the situations where  sexual violence is prevented or de-escalated. For example, in interviews with Weinstein’s victims and potential victims, he notices that there are “turning points” in interactions that seems to disrupt the intent to cause harm. Another important observation is how audiences can facilitate attacks as well as encourage people to resist or report violence.

The key point of Collins’ analysis is the sexual predators are usually unsuccessful and that attacking someone requires that many conditions are present. Thus, to understand sexual violence requires that we understand how “things line up” to make this happen. Conversely, preventing or de-escalating violence requires that we understand how to reverse or prevent these conditions from happening. Collins’ article is long but, as usual, totally worthy reading.

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Written by fabiorojas

March 9, 2018 at 5:01 am

Posted in fabio, Violence