FEMINISM: Sexual assault activism needs more racial intersectionality
Most research, in general, focuses on Caucasian individuals as a default race.
I can’t say I’ve done a sufficient amount of research on how this affects people in the medical world. However, I can say that I’ve done a decent amount of research about sexual assault and most of the research is done on how it affects Caucasian women.
Few articles discuss the different ways sexual assault affects ethnic minorities — and there are a lot of differences.
Although all the statistics you will read about estimated recovery time (physically and mentally), side effects and likeliness to disclose information are all centered on research from Caucasian survivors, they aren’t true for other races and ethnicities.
For starters, African-American women are the most likely to be sexually assaulted. Additionally, they are the least likely to have anyone believe them or sympathize with them and the least likely to receive the physical and mental help they need as they are the most likely to live below the poverty line and not have access to medical or, specifically, mental help.
Additionally, Asian and Hispanic women suffer in the same way that is also overlooked in most research. Traditionally, Asian and Hispanic cultures place the most emphasis on the value of a woman’s virginity. This act is detrimental to a woman’s recovery from sexual assault.
In those cultures research has found that the ability for a woman to guard her virginity has a lot to do with her and her family’s honor. In many traditional Asian families, rape is seen more as a sexual encounter and less like a violent crime — leaving them less likely to tell anyone about it or get help and more likely to feel worthless.
The same typically applies for Hispanic women, as well. For both cases, the more an individual abandons his or her culture and gets acculturated with Western ideologies, the more likely they are to abandon their belief of rape myths. This allows them to take the victim’s side — however, that’s honestly why feminism needs more intersectionality.
The research shows that people who accept Western feminist ideologies will have an easier time recovering. That’s great, but feminism should work toward becoming versatile enough that women don’t feel like they need to abandon their cultures to fit into it.
Instead of pulling everyone to one specific stance associated with Caucasian Americans, the ideologies within Western society that are beneficial to modern people of any ethnicity should be incorporated in that culture. For example, instead of an Asian woman being “less Asian” to fit into and benefit from feminism, she should be able to look at the ideologies and think, “How can this help me as an Asian woman immersed in my culture?”