Course:GRSJ224/Feminism and Patriarchy: Sexual Harassment and Abuse

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Feminism can be simply put as equality on all fronts between men and women. However, feminism has been portrayed in a view that is "anti-men". It is crucial to pull away from wrong conceptions of what feminism fundamentally is. Furthermore, some feministic theories have shown that patriarchy has pushed forward the victimization and oppression of women [1].

It is extremely important to put a certain focus onto what the word feminist actually refers to.

Additionally, if we want to promote equality between men and women, as a society we must come together.

Gender Equality


The clear definition of feminism is “the belief that women should be allowed the same rights, power, and opportunities as men and be treated in the same way, or the set of activities intended to achieve this state” [2].

Meaning that regardless of the setting in which women are accustomed to, they deserve the same rights and respects as men.

In certain cultures and societies this is not common practice, more specifically looking into the subject of sexual abuse.

Women have been raised and socialized to be wary of men: to not dress provocatively, to never walk alone, to not stay out too late, and if they do not follow these sets of guidelines they may let themselves be open to possible sexual harassment and abuse.

Societal Reality

Women no matter of their race, ethnicity, age, or sexual orientation are not exempt to any kinds of special treatment when it comes to a sexual perpetrator with abusive intentions in mind. Any and all women can be a target. Hence, this has become a worldwide issue that we all must address.

Furthermore, men can also be victims of sexual harassment and abuse, however it is less common. “One in five women and one in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives” [3].

Many individuals who experience sexual abuse are not aware of it. It is hard for the victim to admit it in the moment but anyone can unintentionally or intentionally commit abusive actions.

Shifts in Society

In the 21st century, we have entered into a new wave of acceptance. Western communities are coming together in a bubble of acceptance. Social media has opened a new platform for all to express their stories.

It has opened platforms where women and men can share their stories about sexual harassment and/or abuse. Allows us to break away from a division between men and women and into opening the eyes of new generations by making sure/and with hopes that they will recognize that certain actions are not okay.

Anti-Sexual Assault Movements

"Man in Bangalore protesting rape in March 2009"


Movements such as the #MeToo which encouraged any victims of sexual harassment and assault brought victims and survivors together to show support. This became a phenomenon that gave a voice to any man or woman who was ever sexually assaulted.

This was an incredible movement as with such a large amount of support behind the survivors, it made other individuals speak up.

  • In fact, a year after the #MeToo movement over 425 individuals in all industries were accused of sexual misconduct [4].


The following is an campaign arising from Alberta, Canada. It allows for a power of wave of acceptance to survivors. With that giving hopes of sharing their stories and to not be ashamed [5].

Letting all individuals know: you are heard, loved, and change will happen ("believing is a powerful defense against sexual assault").

Sexual Consent Seminars

Making young adults aware of right and wrong is a step into the right direction. Young adults actions are naturally shaped by the environment they expose themselves to.

University campuses are known to be some of the biggest worry of sexual assault for women.

Alcohol consumption has been used as a blinding factor between men and women. Many project that due to being intoxicated they 'assumed' or 'thought' that it was consensual [6].

A large push is needed by universities to enforce sexual consent seminars. In order to have all students understand and be on the same page in case of any 'confusion', that has been used in a way to eliminate blame and guilt that may be placed onto the assaulter.

  1. Solomon, Jennifer Crew (November 1992). "Child sexual abuse by family members: A radical feminist perspective". Sex Roles. 27: 473–485 – via SpringerLink.
  2. "Cambridge Dictionary".
  3. Black, M. C., Basile, K. C., Breiding, M. J., Smith, S .G., Walters, M. L., Merrick, M. T., … Stevens, M. R. (2010 Summary Report). "The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey" (PDF). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. line feed character in |title= at position 50 (help); line feed character in |journal= at position 28 (help); Check date values in: |date= (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. Griffin, Recht, Green, Riley, Hannah, Jeff (October 5, 2018). "#MeToo: One Year Later". Bloomberg.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. "I Believe You Campaign".
  6. Budd, Rocque, Bierie, Kristen, MIchael, David (2017). "Deconstructing Incidents of Campus Sexual Assault: Comparing Male and Female Victimizations" (PDF). Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment: 1–22 – via SAGE.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)