Gender, free will, and woman-to-woman sexual assault in service provider discourses

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Malinen, KelleyAnne
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Although still less recognized than man-to-woman sexual assault, awareness of woman-to-woman sexual assault has grown sufficiently over the past three decades that we should no longer speak of its discursive emergence as the breaking of hitherto uninterrupted silence. This article begins the project of exploring and comparing discourses used to frame this phenomenon. Based on a situational analysis of interviews with service providers who had experience supporting survivors of woman-to-woman sexual assault, this text presents three discourses used to think about this form of violence: all violence is men’s violence, violence is a choice, and nonviolence is learned. Each discourse is characterized by a specific relationship between sexual violence, free will/determinism, and gender and by attendant rules for what can and cannot be said. As such, each communicates ideological commitments, which reflect and sustain specific approaches to antisexual violence work. Each seeks to negotiate a sociopolitical context of gender-based oppression and sexuality-based oppression that includes the risks and realities of silencing and recuperation of survivor speech. The objective of this article is to enable service provider reflection about the implications of diverse discourses used to frame woman-to-woman sexual assault and to discourage naturalization of any given approach.
woman-to-woman , social work/social welfare history and philosophy , situational analysis , sexual abuse , research categories , gender-based violence , gender/sex
Malinen, K. (2018). Gender, free will, and woman-to-woman sexual assault in service provider discourses. Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work, 33(1), 56-68.