If someone is a member of more than one marginalized group they experience multiple layers of intersecting oppressions. The word intersectionality was introduced by scholar and activist Kimberlé Crenshaw to describe how systems of power interact to oppress people with multiple marginalized identities, specifically black women.
A victims'/survivors’ position within society – their identity, background or situation - can impact how a person experiences sexual violence. It can also impact their ability to access support, as well as how other people will interpret and respond to a disclosure. It can also influence if they report sexual assault or cyberviolence to authorities. Sexual violence has been used, and continues to be used as a tool of colonization, slavery and war.
“The experiences of sexual violence are often reciprocal: women living in poverty are often at increased risk of victimization; victimization can then increase risk of unemployment and reduced income. African American women are disproportionately impacted, often living within complex intersections of violence, poverty, and mental and physical health struggles.”
Click on the people below to explore some of these perspectives.
What are other examples where identity, background or situation can impact how a person experiences sexual violence? Add your thoughts to your notes using the button.
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