· PART ONE – Module IV Interaction Forum: Violence Against Women, Traditional Gender Roles, & “#MeToo” – 300 Words

PROMPT: Many researchers see violence against women as related to dynamics of power and dominance in society that represent a male-dominated (patriarchal) social structure. Male domination can be expressed in various ways. For example, feminist theorists have argued that rape and sexual assault are forms of social control that reinforce both the “traditional male sex role” in society and the “historical powerlessness of women in male-dominated societies” (Alvarez and Bachman, p. 188). Other theorists argue that men and women are socialized differentially, with men being taught to be aggressive and virile whereas women are taught to be submissive and passive (Alvarex and Bachman, p. 189).


Other scholars have focused on the socialization process of males and females and argue that traditional socialization practices encourage males to associate aggression, dominance, strength, and virility with masculinity. In contrast, traditional female stereotypes encourage females to be submissive and passive. Further, as Diana Scully and Joseph Marolla explain,

Males are taught to have expectations about their level of sexual needs and expectations for corresponding female accessibility which function to justify forcing sexual access. The justification for forced sexual access is buttressed by legal, social, and religious definitions of women as male property and sex as an exchange of goods. Socialization prepares women to be “legitimate” victims and men to be potential offenders.75

In fact, research does support the contention that a belief in traditional sex roles is related to attitudes endorsing violence toward women. For example, Martha Burt interviewed a representative sample of almost 600 adults and found that individuals with a belief in conventional sex-role stereotypes were more likely to

endorse rape myths, such as that women are partially responsible for their own rapes, that many women enjoy rape, and that women who are drunk cannot be raped;

have attitudes supporting violence against women; and

The Writing Part

In this interaction forum, post a response that describes some of the evidence from Alvarez and Bachman, Chapter 6, which shows that there is an association with violence against women and traditional gender roles and attitudes. Then, comment on whether you think social movements like “#Me Too” can minimize problems of sexual assault related to traditional sex roles and attitudes, as discussed in A&B pp. 196-97. Engage with other students on these issues, i.e., in terms of what studies find about the causes of violence against women or commenting on methods to minimize it.

Insert pages 196-197

In contrast to these policies, electronically monitoring high-risk sex offenders with GPS technology has shown promise. In California, the state with the greatest number of sex offenders under GPS surveillance, Stephen Gies and his colleagues recently compared outcomes between paroled sex offenders who were placed on GPS monitoring with a control group of parolees who were not. Importantly, both groups of offenders were matched to be as equivalent as possible on things such as age, race, and prior time incarcerated, along with other factors. The researchers found that compared to the control group under regular parole supervision, those under GPS surveillance were more likely to register as sex offenders, less likely to be rearrested within a one-year time period, and less likely to be reconvicted. Importantly, however, most of these arrests were for parole violations, not new offenses. In fact, less than 4% of both the control group and GPS monitored parolees were rearrested for a new offense.93 In sum, there is more work needed to determine which policies and practices actually work in preventing this type of violence.

It should not be surprising that debates about sexual offending legislation are often heated. Some critics argue that states should do more to rehabilitate sex offenders in the first place and that registries and residential restrictions placed on offenders only serve to stigmatize offenders and prevent them from moving on with their lives. Other legal scholars contend that these laws are really nothing more than a second punishment for those who have already paid their debt to society. In a fascinating examination of sex offender legislation over the 20th century, Chrysanthi Leon concluded that all sex offenders, regardless of the contextual circumstances of their crimes, are now classified as “monsters” requiring confinement, which prioritizes the public’s belief “that all sexual offending is harmful, dangerous, and caused by deviant desires that are compulsive and beyond control.”94 Today, based on politicians’ need to appear tough on crime, such legislation will probably continue to become ever more punitive, regardless of its effectiveness to combat such crimes.

The #MeToo Movement

While the laws in the previous section were designed to protect us from certain kinds of sexual predators, our cultural consciousness regarding what is considered acceptable is quickly evolving to more accurately reflect the more typical sexual assaulter. Although the “Me Too” movement was founded in 2006 by Tarana Burke, it did not come to the forefront of public consciousness until several women alleged that movie producer Harvey Weinstein had raped them in October of 2017.95 After actress Alyssa Milano asked her followers to speak up about sexual assault after these accusations against Weinstein, the words me too began appearing on social media by the thousands.96 After the movement became a hashtag (#MeToo), The Washington Post reported that the two words were “the top trend nationwide on Twitter and yet another rallying cry for women and men who have experienced some type of sexual harassment or assault.”97 About 30% of those who have tweeted the hashtag are men.

Photo 6.5 #MeToo has appeared on social media millions of times. Has this changed your perceptive about the prevalence of sexual assault?

At the time of this writing, it has now been about one and half years since the allegations against Weinstein were made and the #MeToo movement emerged as a cultural force. This movement came on the heels of an earlier movement, under the hashtag #NotOkay, which began after an Access Hollywood video was released that showed Donald Trump boasting about kissing and groping women. There are several reasons people post in these movements. For example, while #MeToo posts are most often made to bring past victimizations to light, a large percentage of them are also to offer support to all sexual assault victims. From a societal perspective, it is hoped that these individual posts and movements like them will continue to decrease individual perceptions that this predatory behavior is tolerated.

How does this affect the prevalence of sexual assault? It goes back to the original goal of rape law reforms and deterrence theory. If would-be offenders believe that their offending behavior will be made public and sanctioned, they will be less likely to engage in such behavior. Offending behavior made public on social media not only has the potential of resulting in formal sanctions by the courts, as we have seen with Harvey Weinstein, but also involves public shaming, which is a form of informal social control. In contrast to formal social control, which involves formal law enforcement sanctions, informal social control sanctions do not involve the criminal justice system. They are meted out by our family, friends, places of employment, and so on. For example, when other famous people, including the comedian Louis C.K. and Senator Al Franken, were accused of sexual misconduct, Franken felt compelled to resign his Senate seat and Louis C.K. had several performances cancelled. Both were publicly shamed by these allegations, and even though they did not face legal sanctions, the informal sanctions they did receive surely impacted their lives and sent a message to other would-be offenders. Importantly, research shows that informal sanctions such as these are as powerful as formal sanctions in deterring criminal behavior.98

In sum, movements such as #MeToo and #NotOkay may decrease the prevalence of sexual assault for several reasons, including by changing social attitudes about what behavior is appropriate and by increasing the costs, both formal and informal, of engaging in such behavior. It is up to future research to determine what effects these movements have had. What is certain is that the #MeToo movement is spreading globally. It has brought down Bollywood stars in India, has jeopardized the former Costa Rican president Oscar Arias Sanchez’s Nobel prize, has placed academics in China under scrutiny, and has exposed faith healers in Brazil, to name a few.


We hope this chapter has eradicated any stereotypes you may have had about rape and sexual assault. Rape is not a rare event, and it is used in many arenas as a tool of violence, power, and dominance. We believe we have come a long way as a society in recognizing that these victimizations are no different from other forms of violence. However, we still have a long way to go. When fewer than 1 in 10 women who meet the legal criteria of being raped on college campuses and fewer than 1 in 4 victims in the general population are willing to report their victimization to police, we know that the vast majority of offenders will never be punished, and any deterrence value the criminal justice system may have for them and for other would-be offenders is lost. It is hoped that one day, societal awareness will catch up with legal norms.

· PART TWO – Module IV Assignment: Dissecting An Article 2 – Assessing Causality (750 Words)


Top of Form

Bottom of Form

For this second assignment on dissecting an article, you will be asked to provide a critical analysis that focuses on causality & theory development. Some of the skills you will employ have already been applied in previous assignments, but some tasks are new.

INSTRUCTIONS: For this assignment, please access the assigned article “Gender Differences in Sexual Assault Victimization Among College Students” by Hines and Colleagues.

After you have read the article in full, please do the following:

1) Identify the Research Question & Thesis Statement of the Article. What do the researchers want to find out in their study, i.e., what is the purpose of the study? What is their overall thesis statement based on what they find out?

2) Units of Analysis? Who are the subjects of this study in terms of their social characteristics? Were they a unitary group or were there differences among them? Another way to think about this is, who made up the study sample?

3) Research Method & Data Collection: How do the researchers go about discovering the data used for their study? What is their source of data?

4) Variables & Measurements: The primary dependent variable for this analysis is sexual assault victimization, with further differentiation by men versus women. How do the researchers define sexual violence and measure its frequency among their sample? Further, the researchers identify three primary independent variables that they hypothesize* are likely to be associated with, or perhaps causal of, sexual assault victimization. What are these variables and how are they measured (hint: these variables pertain to a student’s “routine activites” with regard to school, leisure and social life as well as their personal behaviors and choices).

Note: Other independent variables used in this analysis include stalking, dating violence (not involving sexual aggression), and “self-protective” measures. You are asked not to examine these measures as part of this assignment as they are considered intervening factors.

* A hypothesis is similar to a research question but it is more specific statement of what researchers expect to find as a result of their study and geared to specific types of data collected and analyzed. Hypotheses are based on earlier research finding into given phenomena (i.e., they are not based on hunches).

5) Analysis & Assessing Causality: The researchers present a lot of details in their “Results” section on how variables are related to each other, and they also employ some quantitative methodologies to isolate effects. Don’t get bogged down in these. Rather, identify and summarize key findings on the relationship between the key independent variables you identified (for purposes of measurement) and sexual assault victimization. To what degree do the results suggest that a student’s “routine activities,” personal behaviors and choices are associated with sexual violence victimization? How are the results different for men versus women and by sexual orientation or gender identity? To what degree can these relationships be construed as causal, i.e., the extent to which an independent variable predicts sexual assault victimization?

6) Theory & Theory Building. Conclude your assignment with a discussion of how social theory helps to explain the causes and risks to violence, in particular, focusing on the “routine activities theory.” What is this theory and how can it be used to predict sexual violence on college campuses according to the authors?

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