Rape and Sexual Harassment: The Intersectional Experiences of Racism and Sexism for Minorities

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Rape and sexual harassment are both two common forms of sexual violence prevalent in the United States. Although both events can happen to men, women are more prone to face these occurrences. According to the National Violence Against Women Survey, “78% of the victims of rape and sexual assault are women and 22% are men” (“Domestic Violence Statistics”). In 2011, companies experienced sexual harassment charges at 11% in relation to all charges brought forth to businesses, and 16% of these charges were filed by men ("Sex Discrimination and Sexual Harassment"). These women are eternally tainted by these occurrences, as Jean Améry wrote, “whoever was tortured, stays tortured” (Brison 5). Our American society rarely considers the effect on these women as well as many other societal misgivings centered on sexual violence in an appropriate manner. The statistics discuss the frequency of these acts of violence, however, they do not consider the stereotypes experienced by women minorities (African Americans and Asian Pacific Americans, for instance), or the higher likelihood of these incidences that come along with the preconceived notions compared to white women, nor do they delve into the horrible aftermath of these situations that these women face.
A plethora of stereotypes are deeply embedded within our culture. There are labels that apply to sexes, those of different sexual orientations, separate economic classes, and those of a certain race or ethnicity. There are instances in which a person experiences stigmas for being one social characteristic, but there are also cases in which women are stereotyped not only for their sex, but also due to their race. Crenshaw contends that “dominant conceptions of discrimination condition ...

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...eader. 2nd ed. Adrien Katherine Wing. New York, New York University Press, 2003. 349-359. Print.
Crenshaw, Kimberle Crenshaw. “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory, and Antiracist Policies.” Critical Race Feminism: A Reader. 2nd ed. Adrien Katherine Wing. New York, New York University Press, 2003. 23-31. Print.
"Domestic Violence Statistics." American Bar Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2014.
"Sex Discrimination and Sexual Harassment." Catalyst. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2014.
"Sexual Assault Reports, Laws | Rape Statistics." SARSSM. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2014.
Wu, Yue. “Model Minority Stereotypes of Asian American Women in American Media: Perceptions and Influences Among Women of Diverse Racial-Ethnic Backgrounds.” Kansas State University, 2010. 1-107. Web. 19 Apr. 2014.

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