Gender, Vicious Circles and (Dis)Empowerment – On Societal and Personal Meanings of Rape. A study of the personal perspectives of women who have contacted Centre for Victims of Sexual Assault at Rigshospitalet is the empirical basis of this article. Questions concerning the gendered personal and overarching societal aspects of the meanings of rape are only rarely explicitly examined in psychological studies. Also questions of gender are often disregarded or distorted in folk psychological discourses. For these reasons we wish to analyse how questions of gender, power and participation are interrelated in the overarching societal and personal meanings of this psychosocial problem. We present and discuss three main themes: 1) The relative relationship of dominance and oppression within gender relations and its connection to the risk of women being exposed to sexualised coercion. 2) The meanings of this risk for women, and 3) The meanings, that instances of coercion and the concrete situated forms that overarching societal conditions take on, may have for the women involved. The analysis indicates that these conditions can bring forth ”vicious circles” which underscore the loss of power and agency that women suffer through the instances of coercion. In this fashion the analysis highlights the necessity of conceptualising the relations between gender, sexual coercion, agency and (dis)empowerment. It may thus avoid contributing to ”vicious circles” through individualisations and pathologisations of the women involved. Instead it may contribute to empowerment through more inclusive support initiatives that further women’s individual and collective possibilities of comprehending, controlling and dealing with different kinds of resources.
|Journal||Psyke & Logos|
|Number of pages||34|
|Publication status||Published - 2006|