The Attitudes of Russian Teenagers toward Sexual Aggression

By Sobkin, Vladimir S.; Adamchuk, Dmitry, V | Psychology in Russia, January 1, 2015 | Go to article overview

The Attitudes of Russian Teenagers toward Sexual Aggression


Sobkin, Vladimir S., Adamchuk, Dmitry, V, Psychology in Russia


Introduction

The data reported in the article describe the attitudes of teenagers to problems concerning sexual violence and aggression. Nowadays in Russia there is a high level of teenage crime and deviant behavior and a high rate of teenage suicides (Spravochnoe izdanie, 2009). At the same time, if information about law violations (delinquent behavior) is acknowledged by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, cases of violence and sexual aggression are often undisclosed (Argunova, 2005).

The importance of the problem of sexual aggression dining puberty is confirmed by several sociopsychological research projects. For instance, teachers' opinions about the reasons for aggressive behavior showed a considerable increase in reasons connected to sexual background ("sexual attraction toward the opposite sex," "feelings of jealousy toward a competitor"), specifically dining puberty, between 7th and 9th grades (Sobkin & Fomichenko, 2014).

In relation to this topic it is important to notice also the information environment of a modern teenager. In accordance with the Law for the Protection of Children from Information Able to Harm Their Health and Development (Federal Law of the Russian Federation, no. 436-FZ of 2010-12-23), a rating system was implemented. These ratings regulate the extent to which audiences of various ages may be exposed to sexual content. However, they are directed to information producers. For parents and children they function only as guidance. Moreover, they have hardly any influence on whether teenagers themselves consume these information products, be it by watching television or films or using the Internet. Because for most teenagers erotic content is highly attractive (Obrazovanie i informatsionnaya kultura, 2000; Tolerantnost v podrostkovoy subkulture, 2000), its being officially marked combined with the absence of efficient mechanisms of social control can even enhance its consumption.

Given the lack of any national systems that could monitor negative factors in the teenage environment, including sexual aggression, special value lies in the data obtained through questionnaires, as these data allow us to evaluate the prevalence of such factors, and they also describe the typical lifestyles of modern Russian teenagers.

Methods

This article is based on data from a research project conducted in 2012 in the Krasnoyarsk (Russia) region. The aim was to study teenagers' attitudes toward various forms of deviant behavior (smoking, drinking alcohol, using drugs), as well as their orientation toward a healthy lifestyle. The research particularly addressed various aspects of schoolchildren's sexual behavior and their attitudes toward sexual violence. The main research method was a paper questionnaire. It was administered to 1,540 children in the 7th, 9th, and 11th grades within the framework of a research program that had been started in 2002 (Sobkin, Abrosimova, Adamchuk, & Baranova, 2005a, 2005b).

Results

Analysis of the official Ministry of Internal Affairs statistics from 2004 to 2008 shows that on average more than 8,000 crimes classified as rape or as attempted rape are registered per year (Spravochnoe izdanie, 2009). Specifically, more than 10% of these crimes are committed by underage children or with their direct participation. However, the official statistics do not reflect the real situation in this area. Experts in criminal psychology note that these crimes have high latency, which causes most of them to stay unreported. There are two types of latency of a sexual crime: "artificial" and "genuine." Artificial latency is caused by mistakes in law proceedings and low-quality police work. The official statistics are based solely on the number of suits filed in court. However, from 1997 to 2003 there was a distinct increase in suits that were rejected by the court -- from 1.45 to 2.8 rejections for every four reported rapes. In other words, of four rape reports only about one results in a lawsuit. …

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