The Reason Behind the SIlence

In my last post I spoke about the lack of material that addressed male victims of sexual assault and rape. There was little to no mentioning in the toolkit of coping mechanisms for male victims, in fact, there was little that mentioned males as being victims of rape at all. The reality is that male victims of rape do exist and the discrimination and stigmatization society has against these victims may be the underpinning as to why the scientific community has turned a blind eye to their situations.
In 2011, it was recorded that 10% of all rape victims were male. Although this number may seem small, it is in no way insignificant. This number is probably grossly underestimated due to the fact that male victims are much less likely to report their assaults than their female counterparts. “Few male rapes appear in police files or other official records. Very few male rape victims report their assault to the police because they think that they will experience negative treatment, be disbelieved, or blamed for their assault” (Walker, Archer, and Davies, 495). I think that many of us feel that male rape only happens in the confines of prisons and military organizations, but the practice of men raping other men occurs around the world in a multitude of environments.
Although I am sure there are many theories behind this lack of reporting, I am going to address what I think is one of the most important factors that discourages male victims from reporting their abuse. “Previous research has suggested that gay and bisexual men are more at risk of rape than heterosexual men for two reasons. The first is that they are at risk of being raped by dates or while in relationships with men…The second reason that gay and bisexual men are more at risk is through homophobic sexual assaults” (Walker, Archer, and Davies, 495). I think the stigma that a vast majority of societies place on the homosexual community inhibits gay men from speaking out against their aggressors. I feel that this already extremely stigmatized community does not want to draw any negative attention to a major problem that has been plaguing it for years. The shame and humiliation that is felt after abuse can lead many victims to experience confusion, depression, and isolation from the community they originally associated themselves with.
The general public’s equation of rape with sex may bring on a shame attached to homosexuality. In a lecture given on prison sexuality it was said that, “The sexual penetration of another male prisoner by a man is sanctioned by the subculture, is considered a male rather than a homosexual activity, and is considered to validate the penetrator’s masculinity” (Scarce, 39). The sacred act of sex that homosexual men engage in with one another is therefore being stripped down for the raw purpose of prisoner’s justifying fulfilling their bodily needs. From a homosexual’s perspective, “Gay male victims may also experience problems with their sexual orientation. When behavior that is formerly associated with consensual sexual activity becomes associated with violence, gay men can experience difficulty in defining their sexuality in a positive way” (Walker, Archer, and Davies, 496). For what I am sure is a long and confusing process for homosexual men in establishing their sexual identity, adding rape into the equation is something I am sure few want to think about or deal with. Maybe the homosexual society feels that the lack of reporting is somehow protecting the inroads they have made on the general public in accepting them for their sexual orientation, and these inroads are something they are not willing to give up.


Scarce, Michael. Male on Male Rape: The Hidden Toll of Stigma and Shame. New York: Insight, 1997. Print.

Walker, Jayne, John Archer, and Michelle Davies. “Effects of Rape on Men: A Descriptive Analysis.” Archives of Sexual Behavior 34.1 (2005): 69-80. Print.

The Silent Victims of Sexual Violence


Sexual violence against women became a fundamental issue for the new feminist movement that began in the late 1960s, and resulted in the emergence of an anti-rape movement in the United States.  The anti-rape movement was founded on two notions: first, the radical political insight that violence against women is a fundamental component of the social control of women, and second, that women should try to do something to turn victims into survivors (Matthews, xii). The movement started out as a result of the leftist counter culture that wanted increased action by the state and law enforcement.  Many feminists believed that the state was doing little to punish rapists and was focusing little effort on preventing and controlling rape from happening.

It almost seems like the movement emerged by placing blame on the government, not on the rapists themselves.  Feminists believed that remaining inactive was in fact more harmful than the abuse. Skepticism toward the state extended to “careful scrutiny of possible funding sources- early activists often refused money that required too close a relationship with suspect state agencies, particularly law enforcement” (Matthews, xii).  This is extremely ironic because now these groups are heavily reliant on state funding, as the anti-rape campaign has changed from a grassroots movement to a main concentration of professional social service employees.

Solely from the reading this week we can see the transformation that anti-rape awareness has underwent.  The American College Health Association has published an entire manual of how to deal with the issue of sexual violence- providing a prevention tool kit, efforts to spread awareness, and educational links.  It is interesting, though, that the packet is targeted toward a female audience and really only describes ways to prevent against male aggression.  Little is mentioned about males who are victims of sexual violence and how they should become educated or cope with being abused.

In comparison to females, male rape victims are underreported by a very large margin.  Approximately one in six boys is sexually abused in the United States before the age of 16.  This is not a small number that should go unaddressed.  It was just in January of this year that the federal government changed its definition of rape to include a wider range of sexual assaults.  National crime statistics on rape used to only include assaults against women and girls committed by men under a narrow set of circumstances, but now have been expanded to include male victims.  The CDC conducted a recent study that revealed that 1.4% of men in a national survey had been raped at one point in their life.  This number was heighted from historic numbers due to the fact that the CDC expanded its definition of rape to include oral and anal penetration (Rabin).  For men, the subject of rape is harder to discuss because there are few males that have spoken out and have created the image of being a “survivor”.  Society needs to acknowledge that rape is not just confined to females but also affects the male portion of the population.


Matthews, Nancy. Confronting Rape: The Feminist Anti-Rape Movement and the State. London: Routledge, 1994. Print.

Rabin, Roni. “Men Struggle for Rape Awareness.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 23 Jan. 2012. Web. 18 Nov. 2012. .

The Changing Face of HIV/AIDS

Womens’ roles in HIV/AIDS have drastically changed since the first cases were diagnosed 25 years ago. When the virus was first discovered, females were expected to protect themselves against infection by insisting their partners wear protection or remain abstinent. Recently, though, there has been a switch in how HIV is looked at in regards to gender relations. Now, women are thought of as being extremely vulnerable to HIV infection because heterosexual males are active transmitters of the virus but are not active in prevention (Higgins, Hoffman, and Dworkin, 436).
Women are biologically more susceptible to contracting HIV because the female reproductive system has a larger mucosal surface that remains in contact with genital secretions and seminal fluid for a long time (Women, HIV, and AIDS). When STIs are left untreated, it may result in ulcerations of the vaginal wall that act as routes of entry for HIV. I would not, however, place the sole blame on the gender disparity for contraction on biological differences. Two-thirds of an estimated 40.3 million people who are infected with HIV/AIDS worldwide reside in sub-Saharan Africa, 77% of which are women. There are many factors that contribute to women’s heightened vulnerability in Africa, but much is attributed to women’s loss of control over their sexuality. In Africa, there are many harmful traditional practices such as child marriage, female genital mutilation, scarification, tattooing, wife inheritance, polygamy, sexual violence in the form of rape, and incest and forced prostitution that make females sexually inferior to men. In a majority of these communities, females are the sole caretakers for their families, which contributes to the spread of HIV to their offspring and family members (Iyayi, Iginomwanhia, Bardi, and Iyayi 114).
Women are increasingly becoming the face for the HIV/AIDS virus. Young people accounted for 40% of the 4.2 million new HIV infections in 2005, and young women accounted for 62% of people living with HIV/AIDS between the ages of 15 and 24 (Iyayi, Iginomwanhia, Bardi, and Iyayi 115). The factors that make women more likely to contract the virus can be viewed in the context of sexual inequality, which could affect the dynamics of sexual relationships. If there is not more emphasis on the male’s necessity to take on greater preventative measures when engaging in sexual relations, the virus will begin to spread at an even more rapid pace.
It is interesting that when you look back at the historic treatment of HIV/AIDS in our society, it was originally attributed to gay men and injection drug users. The only mention of females’ involvement in contraction was the role sex workers played in spreading it to heterosexual men. This evolution needs to be reflected in public health campaigns that are targeted at increasing knowledge of the virus and of preventative measures. Women also need to be economically independent in order to self sustain themselves and not have to depend on males for their well being. If the idea of economic stability is constantly running through women’s minds, they will never speak up to make sure they are engaging in safe sex and are not at risk for contracting this awful virus.


Higgins, Jenny, Susie Hoffman, and Shari Dworkin. “Rethinking Gender, Heterosexual Men, and Women’s Vulnerability to HIV/AIDS.” Framing Health Matters 100.3 (2010): 435-45. Print.

Iyayi, Festus, R. Osaro Iginomwanhia, Anthonia Bardi, and Omole O. Iyayi. “The Control of Nigerian Women over Their Sexuality in an Era of HIV/AIDS: A Study of Women in Edo State in Nigeria.” International NGO 6.5 (2011): 113-21. Print.

“Women, HIV, and AIDS.” Averting HIV and AIDS. AVERT, 2011. Web. 11 Nov. 2012. .

The Silent Killer

General human papillomavirus, more commonly referred to as HPV, is the most common sexually transmitted infection.  There are more than 40 types of HPV that infect the genital areas of both men and women.  Although there are cases where HPV can infect the mouth and throat, most people are unaware that they are affected with the virus and are most likely infecting their sexual partners (CDC).  It is disconcerting that when individuals do seek sexual health exams, “less than one-third of US physicians consistently screen these patients for the full range of sexually transmitted diseases, leaving many patients unaware of their infection status with regard to either HPV or HSV” (Nack, 489).  HPV is one of the few STIs that there has been a vaccine developed for and that has underwent a widespread advertising campaign to promote its benefits.  I personally received the series of three Gardasil shots when I was in high school and know that the majority of my friends did so as well.

The appearance of trends amongst those who are carrying STIs is frequently linked to gender and race (Nack, 493).  I would argue, though, that the two most important factors in determining if one would get an STI vaccine is one’s socioeconomic status and knowledge of the disease and vaccine.    The fact that these factors usually do not coincide with one another is where the issue arises.  Gardasil is currently marketed at $120 per single dose.  Three doses are required over a six-month period, making the final cost for the HPV vaccine $360.  On top of the cost for the shot, many doctors charge for the office time when the vaccine is being given.  Most large insurance companies cover the Gardasil vaccine, but most only do so for females that are ages 9 to 26, the age group in which the vaccine is FDA approved.  Gardasil is now part of the Vaccines for Children Program, a federal program that provides free vaccines to children under the age of 18, whose health care does not cover the shots (  Therefore, getting vaccinated is a huge chunk out of many people’s pockets that cannot afford insurance.  Although the Vaccines for Children Program in place, one must be aware that it even exists to be able to take advantage of the opportunity.

It all stems down the amount of sexual education being taught in our education program.  We see here at Emory that this department was the first to be cut, so it is obvious that our University does not think that this is a priority for college students.  As I said in my last post, the 1980s was a time of heightened teen pregnancies, STIs, and the emergence of AIDS as a serious issue.  There are articles in the Wheel that suggest that the reason these things were occurring in such a prevalent manner was that there was a lack of sexual education at the time.  In 1988, Jerry Falwell, an American evangelical fundamentalist Southern televangelist,  attacked public school in America by saying that sex education promoted teen pregnancy and we would live in a more moral land if sex education as forbidden in schools.  An Op-Ed piece featured in the 1988 Wheel calls Falwell naïve and ignorant and goes on to say that, “people who think they can be sexually active without taking precautions to prevent pregnancy or disease are the contribution to the high illegitimacy rate in this country” (“To Prevent” 8).

It is interesting that over twenty years later, we still see the backlash from the socially conservative members of our society to drugs such as Gardasil.  When the drug was originally marketed it was advertised as a vaccine to protect against several strains of sexually transmitted HPV.  In actuality, this is what the drug really is.  The Family Research Council equated Gardasil and its advertising campaign to “a license for young people to have premarital sex” (Nack, 487).  Both socially conservative groups and the CDC advised Merck, the maker of Gardasil, to advertise the product as a preventative to cervical cancer.  In reality, though, Gardasil protects against four HPV strands that are associated with only 70% of cervical cancers.  Therefore, this drug is not a true preventative for cervical cancer but is really a drug to prevent the spread of the STI HPV.  I think that it is extremely telling that the CDC told Merck to market the drug as a cancer rather than an STI preventative (Nack, 487).  This again stems back to the lack of sexual education in this country and how many are oblivious to the fact that they are too at risk for STIs and that they are much more common than one would think.  When one hears the word cancer, though, they would act in a heartbeat to be able to protect themselves against it and feel as if it is a much more relevant issue to their lives.


“GARDASIL.” Gardasil: Human Papillomavirus Quadrivalent (Types 6, 11, 16, and 18) Vaccine, Recombinant]. Merck & Co. Inc., 2011. Web. 04 Nov. 2012. <>.

Nack, Adina. “Damaged Goods: Micing Morality with Medicine.”  Speaking of Sexuality: Interdisciplinary Readings. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010. 487-502.

“To Prevent Teenage Pregnancy, Sex Education In Schools Needed.” The Emory Wheel 11 October, 1988, 8.


The Changing Nature of Sexual Health in the 1980s

          Throughout the 1980s, the Emory Wheel published multiple articles about the ignorance of college students in regard to their knowledge about sexual health and their dismissive attitude toward contraceptive pills.  A Gallup Poll conducted in 1986 found that college students either do not know much about birth control, or they pass it up because it is “unromantic.”  A poll taken of more than 600 students at 100 campuses found that 32 percent of those surveyed believed withdrawal would protect women from pregnancy.  The same study also revealed that 60 percent of the students had some sex education in high school, but half said that they could have used more (“Students” 11).  One can infer that a lack of sexual education was leading students to have little inhibitions about having unprotected sex and the consequences that result in doing so were not discouraging many.
            It did not surprise me that in a survey taken of college students approximately 80 percent responded that they have engaged in sexual intercourse, yet only one-third report that they regularly use condoms (Abbey, 469).  It seems logical that researchers would try to find a link between this irresponsible behavior and the use of alcohol.   The American College Health Association in 2005 reported that 16 percent of a national sample of college students reported that they had had sex without a condom when intoxicated during the past school year.  Before even reading it, though, I saw a problem with conducting this study.  I am not sure how this can be an accurate representation of how alcohol and condom use are linked due to the nature of the survey.  Questions would have to be asked after the encounter occurred and there are many other variables that have to be taken into consideration.  One’s personality is a huge contributing factor, where things such as impulsivity and pleasure seeking may cause one to both heavily drink and engage in unprotected sex (Abbey, 469).
            Amongst the industrialized countries, the United States has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancies. From 1940 to 1957, the teen birth rate increased 78 percent to a record high.  The birth rate dropped fairly steadily from the end of the 1950s through the mid-1980s, but then increased 24 percent between 1986 and 1991.  The U.S. teen birth rate declined 9 percent from 2009 to 2010, reaching a historic low at 34.3 births per 1,000 women aged 15–19; the rate dropped 44 percent from 1991 through 2010 (Hamilton and Ventura, 1).  Through my research in the Emory Wheel, teenage pregnancy was an epidemic that was sweeping the nation in the 1980s.  Before most male students enter into college, nearly half of them are sexually active and nearly one-third of female students are active.  Of these teenage girls who engage in intercourse, only fourteen percent report using any form of contraceptive during their first encounter (“Teenage” 8).  This coupled with an overall lack of sexual education is a dangerous situation for college students to be in.
            It now makes sense that we see a proliferation of birth control and condom ads in the 1980 Emory Wheels.  Not only was the 1980s one of the peaks of teen pregnancy, this is also when AIDS became widely publicized in the US.  The SGA launched a campaign in 1988 to distribute 1,000 free condoms on campus (“SGA”).  There was also a push made for increased sexual education classes in Emory’s curriculum.  The threat of AIDS prompted colleges in 1987 to put condom vending machines on campuses (“AIDS” 1).  College students at the University of Texas were smart to pick up on the contraceptive trend and created a condom delivery service that was available twenty four seven (“University” 8).   The 1980s offers us a glimpse in the transition of contraceptive use in the US.  It is evident that in the beginning of the decade, a lack of knowledge contributed to high teen pregnancy rates and STIs.  It is unfortunate that it took events such as the spread of AIDS and increased pregnancies to motivate college campuses to act in a more responsible manner in their approach toward education and publicity of contraceptive methods.
Abbey, Antonia, Michele Parkhill, Phillip Buck, and Christopher Saenz. “Condom Use With a Casual Partner: What Distinguishes College Students’ Use When Intoxicated.”  Speaking of Sexuality: Interdisciplinary Readings. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010. 468-477.
“AIDS Threat Prompts Colleges to Add Condom Vending Machines.” The Emory Wheel 22 September 1987, 1.
Hamilton, Bradly and Stephanie Ventura. “Birth Rates for U.S. Teenagers Reach Historic Lows for All Age and Ethnic Groups.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. April 2012. CDC. 28 October 2012
“Students Shun Birth Control.” The Emory Wheel Atlanta 16 September 1986, 11.
“SGA Talks Condoms, WMRE at Meeting.” The Emory Wheel 18 November 1988.
 “Teenage Pregnancy is Largely Attributed to Ignorance.” The Emory Wheel 12 September 1986, 8.
“University of Texas Condom Company Creates Controversy.” The Emory Wheel Atlant 5 Decemeber 1986, 8.

How the Double Standard is Here to Stay

Throughout the years, the term “hooking-up” has had an extremely fluid definition that could imply that society is becoming both more sexually active and sexually acceptable. In both our class discussion and my personal experience, “hooking-up” tends to be inclusive of having sexual intercourse.  I would assume there has been a generational shift, as my parents have told me that when they were teenagers “hooking-up” did not go hand in hand with sexual intercourse. Due to the fact that these were all based on personal assumptions, I decided to check out the facts.  Paula England, a professor of sociology at NYU, researched the hook-up culture at Stanford University.  Her findings were that only thirty to forty percent of students responded that hook-ups involved sexual intercourse, and one third of the respondents said that it only involved making out and some touching (England, 1). England’s study also resulted in the same findings as Bogle’s study, in that there was a clear double standard amongst females and males when it came to hooking up.

It is clear that there is a double standard amongst genders that if women hook-up too often they are perceived as sluts where males are patted on the back, but what constantly comes up is that men cannot define how much is “too much.”  In Bogle’s study, the male student she interviews gives a convoluted and then an almost ludicrous response that “females who hook up with twelve males in a short period of time or five guys a week are considered sluts” (Bogle, 136).

One of the main things that has contributed to the double standard is that relational orientation is gendered.  Women have a stronger desire, especially in college, to be in a committed relationship than men.  Although we often would like to place the blame of this double standard on male judgment, a lot of it is caused by females feeling as if they are going to be judged by their sexual partners and peers.  Having the stigma of being a slut often taints you as damaged goods. In both Bogle’s and England’s studies boys talk and it is generally made known which girls are sleeping around.  England offers the anecdote of her mother saying to her when she was 19 that she needed to be a virgin at marriage because otherwise, if you have had sex and it does not work out, you do not marry that man, and then no other man will marry you.  Because in our current culture almost everyone has premarital sex, excluding Evangelical Christians, there needs to be a definition of how much is “too much” (England, 7).

The reason why “too much” exists is due to the fact that there is an underlying fear of being judged by one’s peers.  England asks the question “Have you ever hooked up with someone and then respected your hookup partner less because they hooked up with you?”  There was a minority of both men and women who answered yes, but slightly more men did. On the other hand, when England posed the question “Have you ever hooked up with someone and then felt that your hookup partner respected you less?” almost half of the female respondents answered yes in comparison to only 20% of males. What this shows is that although many times we fear that males will label us as “sluts”, women are more worried of this happening and think those guys have thought this more than it has actually happened (England, 8).  This gendered script that females hold themselves to only acts to reinforce the stigma that males attach to them.  It is evident that there has yet to be a definition on what “too much” is but the there is a commonly held belief that the notion does exist, and it exists in such a way that it will take a while to get rid of.

Bogle, Kathleen. “Hooking Up: Men, Women, and the Sexual Double Standard.” Hooking Up: Sex, Dating, and Relationships on Campus. New York: New York University Press. 2008.

England, Paula. “Understanding Hookup Culture: What’s Really Happening on College Campuses.” Media Education Fund. 2011.

Who wears the pants?

Homosexual couples often are asked the question “Who is the male and who is the female in your relationship?” Because the majority of us have grown up and have become familiar with the male-female sexuality construct, it is natural for one to want to characterize each individual into one of these two roles. When you think about it, this is a pretty hetero-minded question to be asking. In heterosexual relationships, specific gender roles have set standards and expectations of each party involved. In reality, what we really should be asking is, “Who is in control?”
The genderized role of a male is that he is strong and domineering, and usually is the sole breadwinner in the relationship. Males engage in activities that foster competitiveness and are generally looked at as being on top in the relationship hierarchy. The genderized role of the female is that she is submissive to men and has a more passive personality. The women is supposed to look good and do all of the tasks, such as a variety of household chores, that will make the male’s life easier. These gender categorizations make it easy for one to differentiate who is who in the relationship. This is why we have such a tendency to point out who is more feminine and who is more “butch” in a homosexual relationship.
The most obvious way society determines who is who is simply by the clothes each partner wears. But there are personality traits that are associated with each role. The person that is more “butch” generally wears the pants in the relationship, is more aggressive, and is the breadwinner. I was not surprised when I read in the Relationships and Sexuality article “in gay male couples, income is an extremely important force in determining which partner will be dominate.” Money fosters dependency, which is why in the stereotypical heterosexual couple the male works and the female stays at home and caters to him. Gender roles in homosexual relationships can produce many problems. By deeming one person to be butch and one to be feminine, this confines each to their respective stereotypes. Members may not be able to express their true selves due to the restrictions their gender roles have placed on them.
After reading many articles on the topic, it seems that what a lot of scholars feel really determines the hierarchy in homosexual relationships is which member has sexual dominance. This means that whoever is penetrating is the one in charge. It seems that there is a huge disconnect between the equality homosexual couples want to achieve and what they actually achieve. In an early study, 92% of gay men and 97% of lesbians defined the ideal balance of power as one in which both partners were “exactly equal”. When compared to a later study that asked lesbian and gay couples “who has more say” in your relationship, only 38% of gay men and 59% of lesbians characterized their current relationship as “exactly equal” there is a clear disconnect. Establishing and defining gender roles in homosexual relationships is not black and white. I think we have a very hard time understanding homosexual relationships because of the heterosexual imagery we are constantly presented with and have grown accustomed to.

Disney’s Power to Affect Molding Minds

It has been argued that Disney and its competitors, such as Pixar and DreamWorks, have used children’s movies to transmit subliminal messages to adolescent minds about various different topics.  In the past, I have studied how FDR, who when faced with the rapid spread of Nazism in the 1930s, created the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs within the Motion Picture section of the State department to promote the image of “the American way”.  The “American way” was used to promote the President’s Good Neighbor Policy, which reinforced the idea that the United States would be a “good neighbor” and engage in reciprocal exchanges with Latin American countries. FDR hired Hollywood to create propaganda, most notably in Disney films, to promote his policy, when in reality our country’s interest lied in being able to exploit the countries of Latin America in the wake of WWII.

The pro-Pan-America and the love thy neighbor propaganda campaign allowed the film industry to market the people of the “Americas” for US entertainment. With Europe shut off for business, America needed a look elsewhere for an economic partner. FDR wanted film studios to create movies about Latin Americas in order to bridge the cultural divide.  Instead, this resulted in film studios marketing a heightened stereotype of Latinos with pulsating music and oozing sexuality.  Most notably in Disney’s The Three Caballeros, the film studio portrayed the South of the Border as a thrilling, provocative, and intensely sexual culture, through characters such as Carmen Miranda.

The portrayal of Latinos in these films also reinforced the “typical” American social order.  In these movies, whoever came out on the top was a strong male who was civilized, ready to conquer, and play the roll as the savior in society.  Those who were often left behind were the females who were there to serve the sexual desires of men.  Latin men and women were shown as having hypersexual tendencies to the point of being flamboyant.  This goal was to show that this could in no way be a productive society, but rather a society that was dependent on the US to be civilized.

When I read in the article “School’s Out: Asexy teens” how Disney movies “feed the narratives that give [children] a narrow sense of their options when it comes to forming social, romantic, and sexual attachments,” I thought of Carmen Miranda.  Asexuality and “atypical” relations are rarely mentioned in children’s movies, as this is not perceived as ”normal”.  I would assume that if Disney marketed a movie where two princes fall in love, very few parents would be rushing to take their children to the movie theater to see it.  Not only do we see Disney highlight sexuality in American social policy, but also there are many other sexual references in the company’s movies.  There are countless examples of images and lyrics in Disney songs that have a sexual connotation.  The many hidden messages that Disney includes in its movies reinforces the notion that sex sells, and engrains in children’s minds that this is the “normal” lifestyle to lead.




Interesting Reads: (about sexual images in Disney movies) (about FDR’s Good neighbor policy and the sexualization of Latinos in Disney films)

How Little Has Changed

When I first saw the subject title “Sexual Coercion and Aggression in Dating” in the Relationships and Sexuality article I figured it would be about rape and violent unwanted intercourse. These are things, although prevalent in the news and included in the plotline of many modern TV shows, I do not feel apply to myself. After reading the findings of scholars on the subject, I was shocked at how relatable their conclusions were to the average life of a college student.
Sexual coercion has come to encompass simply kissing someone and being manipulated into doing something against your will. This does not necessarily have to mean engaging in consensual sexual intercourse. With excessive drinking and peer pressure, I think that college is the quintessential setting for this type of behavior to occur in. I also think it was extremely interesting that they linked the frequency that one would have the tendency to engage in this behavior to ones childhood experiences. It makes sense that someone with poor peer relationships and who had more same-sex sexually active friends growing up were more likely to be coerced into an unwanted situation. I was also not shocked to discover that females have a much higher tendency to fall victim to manipulation than men.
From my personal experience, my friends who are more insecure and grew up with more girlfriends are the ones throughout college who have been more susceptible to being treated poorly by boys. When coming to college, relationships with boys were something they actively sought out because it was something that they previously did not get the chance to experience. I think that many people feel a sense of false security when they engage in a relationship with the opposite sex. Although it is comforting to be in a relationship, it often leads to even greater insecurities and lower self-esteem. More often than not, someone who is in a relationship “just to be in a relationship” would do anything that their partner tells them to do just to maintain their partnership. This form of sexual coercion just reinforces manipulation and dependence on others.
I also recognize the truth in the findings about sexually coercive men. It was concluded that these men date more frequently, begin sexual activity at an early age especially in non-committed relationships, and prefer casual sexual encounters. Men that exhibit these types of traits would be labeled in modern society as “players”. It does not help that more often that not, boys who engage in this type of behavior are lauded by their peers. This praise just gives fuel to the fire and reinforces a toxic cycle. So, from what I first felt was not applicable to me actually turned out describing a typical college experience. I would hope that this is a phase that teenagers go through and learn to grow out of, as they either realize that this is not a way to maintain a healthy relationship or, on the other end, gain more self-respect for themselves. It is also interesting to note that although this study was conducted in the 1990s, nothing has really changed at all.

It All Stems From Religion

I think it is interesting to examine the issue of sexuality during the 1800s, when religion was such an integral part of the majority of people’s lives. Throughout history, what have been central to many people’s arguments involving sexuality are the moral issues that arise when one chooses and alternative lifestyle.  Most of the world’s major religions regard the traditional model of sexuality to be the “correct” model.  This is where a man and a woman are attracted to each other, wed, and procreate.  To my knowledge, there is little to no mentioning in the Torah, Bible, or the Koran of homosexuality, males choosing to lead lives as females, and vice versa.

We are able to see in the article about Yun Ch’i-ho, one of Warren Candler’s confidants and the leader of the Methodist Episcopal Church’s missionary work in Korea, how prejudices, often fueled by religion, made such a respected man feel insecure and self-concisous in his position at the University.  As we all know from our country’s long history, race has been key to the majority of hate that is demonstrated.  Often times, many people felt that their hate toward minorities was justified because they were preached these types of ideals in a religious setting.  Yun expressed in his diary how he had to “sit in Church and hear a missionary lecture about the barbaric habits of Asians, lamenting that the white women he met in Oxford would never have him as a husband, or pondering if the Korean people might perish in a racial “survival of the fittest,” race.”  As mentioned in a previous post and in line with the racial prejudices of the time, Yun tells the story of M.T. Cleckley, who was dismissed from Emory because he was found in bed with a negro woman.

Yun’s diaries reveal how his insecurity about his race plagued his thoughts at all times.  Yun felt that he would never deserve to be at the side of a white woman, even though he comments on end about how beautiful and dazzled he is by their appearance.  One of the most painful stings came from his best friend Warren’s wife, Nettie Candler, who condemned him for thinking about having relations with white females because he was Korean.  Yun seems shocked by her words, as he felt that she would treat him as a Christian equal.

The fact that Yun was such a prominent figure in the missionary movement in the late 1800s yet was still discriminated against because of his ethnicity shows how powerful the ideals of religion can be.  We see in today’s society that the majority of hot topic debates all stem from some sort of religious concern.  Therefore, although society is definitely more open now to the idea of non-traditional forms of sexuality, I think it will take a substantial amount of time for the stigma that religion has attached to these issues to be completely eliminated.  Religion is the most powerful thing in many people’s lives, and it is controversial, but safe to say, that is has hindered a lot of progressive movements in the world.