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The issue of sexual coercion can be described as employing alcohol, pressure, force or drugs to establish sexual contact with a person against his or her consent. In other words, it is to be persuaded to engage in a sexual activity, unwillingly. For instance, a boy trying to persuade a girl that it is the right choice to have sex, even if the girl is having doubts about it. Analysts have observed that sexual coercion is often ignored as “a joke” or is an accepted societal norm (O’Sullivan, Byers and Finkelman, 1998).
Types of Sexual Coercion and Statistics
There are four types of coercive situations. The first of them is the ‘verbal pressure’, Using flattery, begging, arguing or lying to pressurize the other person to engage in a sexual activity. Secondly, ‘social pressure’, is characterized by fear of social isolation or peer pressure. Thirdly, ‘emotional pressure’, features the perpetrator to take advantage of the level of intimacy and trust in a relationship. For instance, make the other person feel guilty for not agreeing to engage in a sexual activity. Lastly, ‘Alcohol/Drug’ is the most frequently employed method to coerce resisting party to engage in sexual activity.
Studies have shown that approximately 72 per cent of college students report being sexually coerced and close to 35 per cent of them have reported to use a sexually coercive behavior again their friend, girlfriend/boyfriend or an acquaintance. These studies show that the most commonly adopted tactic is giving drugs or alcohol to the victim. O’Sullivan et al., (1998)believes that the primary reason for committing sexual coercion is the sexual urge of an individual. Furthermore, they have stated that sexual coercion is different from rape as the latter is most likely triggered by wanting to feel powerful, and the former is just about sexual contact (O’Sullivan, Byers and Finkelman, 1998).
Short and Long Term Impacts of Sexual Coercion
Sexual coercion most likely leads towards having unwanted sex, which is not physically or emotionally healthy. The short term impacts of sexual coercion are pregnancy (birth control methods are not completely effective), suffer from sexual transmitted diseases.
Long-term impacts include having emotional problems as this can lower the self-esteem of a victim and may induce feelings of guilt, anxiety and shame (Struckman-Johnson and Anderson, 2003).
Who is at Risk?
Studies by Struckman et al,. (2003) have shown that some individuals have a higher risk of being a victim of sexual coercion than others. For instance, individuals who seek attention from the opposite sex, have low self-esteem, insecure about their bodies, use drugs and alcohols frequently or have been a victim of child molestation have a high risk of being exploited (Struckman-Johnson and Anderson, 2003).
Who is likely to Perpetuate?
Perpetrators primarily indulge in the activity of sexual coercion due to having a low confidence in their ability to attract others. Furthermore, a person with control issue or men with stereotyped perspectives of masculinity are also observed to engage in sexual coercion (Struckman-Johnson and Anderson, 2003).
Treatment for Victims
The first step of treatment is to recognize the problem. Most victims are not aware that they are being forced to engage in a sexual activity. Once, this problem is recognized, the victim seeks help in the form of talking to a trustworthy friend or a family member. Other treatment options include seeking help from a professional, such as a doctor or a school counselor (Struckman-Johnson and Anderson, 2003).
Treatment for Perpetrators
As mentioned above, initiators of sexual coercion have an irrational perspectives. Hence, they should also seek professional help and try to resolve their issues (Struckman-Johnson and Anderson, 2003).