Sexual Coercion: Time to Rise to the Challenge

By Rao, T. Sathyanarayana; Nagpal, Mehak et al. | Indian Journal of Psychiatry, July-September 2013 | Go to article overview

Sexual Coercion: Time to Rise to the Challenge


Rao, T. Sathyanarayana, Nagpal, Mehak, Andrade, Chittaranjan, Indian Journal of Psychiatry


Byline: T. Sathyanarayana Rao, Mehak. Nagpal, Chittaranjan. Andrade

Much has been said, discussed, and reported in the media in the wake of the December 16, 2012, Delhi rape and murder incident, and a myriad other incidents of sexual crime in the country. It is therefore important for mental health professionals to re-examine psychosocial issues related to sexual coercion in the context of the current public debates on the subject.

Sexual coercion is the act of being physically, psychologically, financially or otherwise forced or tricked into engaging in sexual activity; victims are most commonly women and children. Women run the risk of sexual abuse and violence across their whole life span. The risk of partner violence and rape, including dating violence and domestic violence; begins in late adolescence, peaks by middle age, and may even continue in the elderly. These acts are not a distinct phenomena and have a degree of overlap that can be viewed along a continuum of sexual violence as they have common causes and methods of prevention. [sup][1],[2]

It is commonly believed that sexual coercion is perpetrated by the male sex against the female sex. However, this gender effect is less pronounced in child sexual abuse where women represent a large proportion of perpetrators and children of both sexes are subjected to sexual advances from adolescents and adults. Childhood sexual abuse includes three important elements: (1) Age and size difference between the child and perpetrator; (2) presence of sexual behaviors such as nudity, fondling, and penetration; and (3) gratification to the perpetrator. [sup][3],[4]

Sequelae of coercive sexuality in children include subsequent development of sexual disorders, emotional instability, interpersonal withdrawal, and maladaptive coping in new situations. In young women, self-blame, guilt, shame, poor self-esteem, mistrust of others, and other repercussions get reflected in relationships and can be enduring.

In any case of child sexual abuse, rape, domestic violence, or elder abuse; there is a common thread of betrayal, vulnerability, and ambivalence in the social norms that tolerate the abuse and the abuser.

Role of Mental Health Practitioners and Physicians

As is with all forms of sexual assault, the most serious health effects of rape are not physical but psychological. While some acts may traumatize the survivor immediately, other acts may additively manifest many years later, making it more difficult over time to resist overt acts of aggression. Long-term clinical problems include hypervigilance, anxiety and phobias, somatic complaints, dissociative disorders, depression, substance abuse, suicide attempts, and risk of revictimization. [sup][5]

While most abuse associated with fatality occurs to young children, adolescent abuse can lead to risk taking behavior that, in turn, increases the risk of current and later morbidity and mortality. [sup][6] Clinicians must therefore recognize that recurrent injury at each stage of a woman's life cycle is predictable; and it requires safety planning in order to address the intratraumatic stress responses. [sup][2] There is also an urgent need to target the commonplace barriers to physician involvement, such as lack of training and awareness about community services, time constraints, and unresolved personal issues that would facilitate a nonjudgmental and supportive safe encounter with the victim. [sup][7]

The role of a physician is not just to evaluate, document, and treat women who have been sexually assaulted. They also serve as an educator to guide the victim, her family, and those who become involved in her care. Here, it may be noted that it is important to address a common misperception in society that if women avoid certain behaviors they are not vulnerable to sexual assault. This belief and the subsequent tendency to blame; especially by the main supportive caregivers of the victim, needs to be addressed openly. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Sexual Coercion: Time to Rise to the Challenge
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.