Male Sexual Violence Workshop
This workshop is based on a 15-year research program that has examined the case records of over 2,500 individual sexual assault cases, over 1,100 court records and 104 transcripts of sexual assault trials.
The results document a failure of social justice, a critical need for reform of the legal process, and a set of steps that may be taken by local groups to bring about social change.
These three elements form the basis of the workshop.
A Failure of Social Justice
The standards used by the courts for defining what are "not serious" crimes are those which also define the circumstances of women and children with respect to the men who sexually assault them. The confounding the defining circumstances of male sexual violence with the criterion for excusing offenses means that legal system contributes to the victimization of women and children.
The Court Process
Separate mechanisms are responsible for the failure of social justice for children and for adult women, but with the identical effect of excusing male sexual violence.
The Legal Process in Cases of Child Sexual Abuse
Children are held responsible for their sexuality but not for giving responsible testimony, when, in fact, the exact opposite is the case. Children are not responsible for their sexuality but can give accurate and responsible testimony when questioned properly. This happens through content and form respectively.
The content of the questions asked follow the same form of questions asked of adults where consent is an issue. Consent is not an issue with children.
The questions asked are frequently developmentally inappropriate by exceeding the child's capacity to understand the question. The inability to understand what was asked is mistaken as an inability to give reliable testimony.
The Legal Process in Cases of Sexual Assault of Adult Women
Women are treated by the legal process from the time of initial complaint through the courtroom process by "selectivity and disparity" which denies and distorts the reality of women's actual experiences. This happens through content and form respectively.
Myths, stereotypes and word pictures are used to distort the true nature of women's experiences
Defenses based on logical fallacies are treated as if they are logical arguments.
Community-Based Social Action
A three-fold social action approach that can be implements by grass roots community groups has been developed based on the research series on sexual assault. These are:
How to document the outrageous to raise public awareness.
How to challenge the legal system to force reform of the legal process.
How to support survivors to increase the capacity and success of survivors who choose to make use of the legal system to gain redress.
This workshop covers these three issues, and provides participants with the knowledge and skills to begin a local social action program.
A detailed description of the research and the proposed social action program that forms the basis of the workshop is available on line at:
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