The false myths that prevent victims of sexual assault from identifying themselves as such | Society

Neither burundanga nor an unknown person is usually behind the sexual assaults on women in a drug context. These types of myths and others make it difficult for the victim to identify as such. If you go out partying, drink alcohol and someone close to you takes advantage of your vulnerability to sexually assault you, you may not consider yourself a victim. The reasons are multiple and most converge in a macho discourse that permeates society. These are the main conclusions that support a project carried out by researcher Pablo Prego in the framework of his doctoral thesis on drug-facilitated sexual assaults at the University of Alcalá de Henares (Madrid).

The initiative has been awarded the 2020 National Youth Award for Human Rights and is one of the stories that have reached the PRISA project ‘Leave a good mark’ that seeks initiatives capable of meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

They do not denounce for the social judgment

“I want to contribute to building a better world. I seek to increase social awareness of the violence suffered by women in youth leisure contexts. Specifically, sexual assaults in which the victims are under the influence of alcohol or other drugs voluntarily consumed” explains Pablo.

The project is already underway and has served to educate thousands of students in the classrooms. Various dynamics are created. On the one hand, workshops are held in the first undergraduate courses and on the other, these are the ones who then go to institutes with the aim of raising awareness. And they do it with different tools chosen by the students themselves. Social networks are usually the route most used by young people in this project, specifically Instagram with the creation of their own accounts. “The way to hook and motivate them is usually from the victim’s own story. It is much more common than is believed or talked about. Most of the students know cases and it is from there that we begin to work”, explains the researcher.

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In 99% of cases, the victim of sexual violence in a drug context is a woman. “The usual thing is that they do not report it. At most they tell it to their closest environment. A social trial persists that makes the victims remain silent,” says Pablo.

First false myth: the way to act

Throughout the project, it has been seen that there are a series of false myths that make it difficult to identify the victims.

The first is the modus operandi. It is said that the aggressions in a state of unconsciousness derive from the fact that drugs such as burundanga have been put on the victim in the glass. Instead, the scientific evidence concludes that the most common drug the victim has consumed is alcohol and that he has done so voluntarily.

The substance involved

Alcohol is the most common substance involved in a drug and sexual assault context. “In the vast majority of cases, young women are the victims who face a very large social judgment because there is a sexist perception of both alcohol consumption and sexual promiscuity,” says the researcher.

The state in which the victim is

Another of the false myths has to do with the state in which the victim is. “It is believed that she has to be asleep or unconscious, but this is not always the case and that confuses the identification,” she explains.

Relationship between victim and aggressor

The last of the great false myths identified has to do with the relationship between the victim and the aggressor. It is mistakenly believed that he is usually a stranger when in most cases he is someone close to him. “We have also verified that these false myths have a higher prevalence among women than among men,” says the researcher.

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The intention is to take this project to the largest number of educational centers possible throughout 2022 to try to create awareness capable of ending sexual assaults.

Award-winning project. / CHAIN ​​SER

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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