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Concluding Thoughts

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 March 2021

Stephanie Kewley
Affiliation:
Liverpool John Moores University
Charlotte Barlow
Affiliation:
Lancaster University
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Summary

As highlighted throughout this collection, the impact and cost (personal, social, and economic) of sexual violence is significant, therefore it is important to consider ways to prevent it and to support victims appropriately. This collection demonstrates the power of a collaborative approach within the field of preventing sexual violence, and the chapters highlight the extensive and invaluable work that contributors are doing in this area. The collection outlines a variety of pertinent issues in the field of preventing sexual violence, such as constructs related to women and children, issues and challenges for victims, and global issues related to prevention. Although each chapter addresses focused topics, there are three overarching themes evident across all contributions. It is these key themes that all stakeholders ought to consider when working to prevent sexual violence. Each of these themes will now be discussed in turn.

Firstly, the gendered nature of sexual violence is well documented, and this collection highlights the need to emphasise that in prevention practice. Risk-orientated approaches to prevention, which currently dominate practice, often fail to directly recognise that most victims of sexual violence are either women or children and most perpetrators of sexual violence are men. Even though women can and do perpetrate sexual violence, as highlighted in Cardoso and Kewley's chapter, they often have significantly different motivations than male perpetrators, which remain underexplored or not fully understood by academics and practitioners alike. Furthermore, the preoccupation with ‘risk’ or ‘risk factors’ when working with perpetrators of sexual violence more broadly often leads to ‘othering’, as highlighted in Walklate and McCulloch's chapter, and inhibits the consideration of protective factors. This also translates to victims’ experiences, with some women's perceived ‘risky behaviours’ being used as a way of justifying or minimising experiences of sexual violence, particularly prevalent in media representations (see chapters by Fohring and Korkodeilou). We, therefore, argue that successful prevention strategies cannot be fully be achieved unless patriarchy and gender inequality are recognised as key enablers of sexual violence. Work by practitioners supporting perpetrators and victims ‘on the ground’ (micro-level) is therefore not separate or separable from the macro-level issues of patriarchy and gender inequality when considering how best to prevent and tackle sexual violence.

A second theme featured across many of the chapters in this collection echo the arguments of Walklate and McCulloch's introductory chapter.

Type
Chapter
Information
Preventing Sexual Violence
Problems and Possibilities
, pp. 171 - 174
Publisher: Bristol University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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