Subjects in Gendered Constellations of Spiralling Disempowerment: Situated Personal Meanings of Rape and other Forms of Sexualized Coercion

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Personal perspectives on having been subjected to rape or other forms of sexualised coercion as well as its meanings/concequences in everyday life are sparsely researched in mainstream psychology. Furthermore, questions of gender, power and participation and their connections to personal perspectives are also rarely explicitly nor critically investigated. Similarly, gendered aspects of sexualised coercion are frequently underestimated in common everyday discourses. Thus, it is crucial to explore how questions of gender and power may be interwoven in this psycho-social phenomenon and its meanings. Therefore, we investigate: 1. Intersecting societal aspects of gender, power and participation, their connections to women being subjected to sexualised
coercion, and the concept of (dis)empowerment. 2. Situated, personal and common meanings/concequences of concrete incidents of coercion for women having been subjected to them. 3. Connections between being subjected to coercion and being a subject and participant in this context of action. Our article is part of an exploration of 1st person perspectives of women who have asked for assistance at Centre for Victims of Sexual Assault in Copenhagen. The exploration is informed by an attempt at connecting approaches from critical and feminist social theory and from the approach of Kritische Psychologie.
Our analysis indicates how situated societal conditions may result in ‘spirals of
disempowerment’ through which women experience a sustained loss of agency during and after incidents of coercion. The analysis underscores the necessity of
conceptualising connections between societal and situated conditions of ‘power over’ and ‘power to’ in gendered relations of relative dominance and subordination, sexualized coercion, (dis)empowerment, and possibilities for participation. As a consequence, and by pointing to, as well as developing inclusive agency-oriented support initiatives, psychosocial conceptualisations and practices may avoid contributing to disempowering spirals feeding on victimisation, individualisation, psychologisation, and pathologisation.
TidsskriftAnnual Review of Critical Psychology (Online)
Sider (fra-til)1108-1141
Antal sider34
StatusUdgivet - 25 dec. 2019

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