Sexual Relationships, Sexual Behaviors and Gender-Based Violence

A special issue of Sexes (ISSN 2411-5118).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 August 2022) | Viewed by 142238

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
1. Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Porto University, 4099-002 Porto, Portugal
2. CPUP—Center for Psychology of Porto University, Porto University, 4099-002 Porto, Portugal
Interests: sexual dysfunction and psychological factors; laboratorial sex research; hypersexuality; sexual aggression; paraphilia

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Gender-based violence consists of sexual, physical, or emotional violence committed against someone based on their gender, and it most often affects women and girls, including within both their family and relationships. This worldwide phenomenon, often rooted in cultural standards and prompted by social and psychological dynamics, has been the source of political and social struggle. In order to prevent and mitigate such dynamics, political entities must find support in science, as scientific evidence is crucial for triggering social action and guiding political decision-making.

In this regard, a strong focus is placed on the sexuality domain, how (sexual) violence emerges in the context of sexual relationships, and how it intersects with the vast areas of sexual behaviors, attitudes, roles, and/or narratives.

This Special Issue attempts to bring together evidence on the psychological, social, and relationship dynamics shaping gender-based violence, providing an evidence-based platform for discussing and informing intervention actions, at the individual, community, and political levels. 

All types of methodological inquiries are welcome. We further encourage diversity of research teams, representing distinct geographic areas and epistemological perspectives.

Dr. Joana Carvalho
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sexes is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • gender-based violence
  • sexual violence
  • relationships
  • culture
  • attitudes
  • stereotypes
  • psychological processes
  • victims
  • offenders

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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14 pages, 298 KiB  
Article
Women Selling Sex in Russia: Analyzing Women’s Appraisal of Exploitation and Mistreatment Using Cognitive Dissonance and Cultural Sex Script Frameworks
by Varvara Gulina, Lianne A. Urada, Veronika Odinokova and Maia Rusakova
Sexes 2022, 3(3), 463-476; https://doi.org/10.3390/sexes3030034 - 8 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 110689
Abstract
Globally, over a third of women have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. In Russia, human trafficking, sexual exploitation, and physical abuse of women are amongst the world’s highest. Applying cognitive dissonance theory and sexual script theory, this study explores whether [...] Read more.
Globally, over a third of women have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. In Russia, human trafficking, sexual exploitation, and physical abuse of women are amongst the world’s highest. Applying cognitive dissonance theory and sexual script theory, this study explores whether women (n = 654) trading sex in Russia appraise their experiences of entering the commercial sex trade as voluntary or forced. Contributing client factors were also analyzed, including beatings (66%), rape (66%), and humiliation (86%) by clients. Multiple logistic regression assessed whether women who reported voluntarily entering the commercial sex trade were more likely to experience physical abuse but less likely to experience rape (AOR:1.37); were more likely to perceive men using them as decent/caring (AOR = 2.54); were more likely to sell sadistic/masochistic services (AOR: 2.31); and less likely to stop selling sex (AOR: 5.84). Implications of this study reveal the importance of intervention strategies that account for a woman’s unawareness of her own exploitation and mistreatment as well as the psychological barriers that prevent her from seeking help. The necessity of recognizing women selling sex as sufferers of coercion and abuse is also emphasized. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sexual Relationships, Sexual Behaviors and Gender-Based Violence)
15 pages, 818 KiB  
Article
Dimensionality and Measurement Invariance of the Sexually Aggressive Behaviors Scale across Male and Female Portuguese College Students
by Bárbara Moreira, Pedro J. Rosa, Nélio Brazão and Joana Carvalho
Sexes 2022, 3(3), 336-350; https://doi.org/10.3390/sexes3030026 - 7 Jul 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2503
Abstract
There is growing interest on the topic of Sexual Violence (SV) perpetrated by community samples; movements, as the Me Too, have triggered such focus. Researching the validity of core SV measures is now fundamental. Accordingly, this study aimed to assess the structure of [...] Read more.
There is growing interest on the topic of Sexual Violence (SV) perpetrated by community samples; movements, as the Me Too, have triggered such focus. Researching the validity of core SV measures is now fundamental. Accordingly, this study aimed to assess the structure of the Portuguese version of the Sexually Aggressive Behaviors Scale (SABS-PT) while testing for measurement invariance across gender. The SABS-PT was tested among a sample of 2540 Portuguese college students (48.5% males and 51.5% females). All participants identified as heterosexual, and their ages ranged between 18 and 39 years old. To assess the construct validity and test for measurement invariance across gender, single and multigroup Confirmatory Factor Analyses were performed. Results support the internal consistency and convergent/discriminant validity of the SABS-PT in relation to external variables. Overall, the findings suggest a good fit of data to the model. The partial scalar invariance of the measurement was obtained and further analyses on latent means differences indicated that men scored higher on SV compared to women. The SABS-PT may constitute a useful instrument for screening sexual initiation by aggressive means and associated risk factors and may play an important role as an outcome measure in programs preventing sexual violence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sexual Relationships, Sexual Behaviors and Gender-Based Violence)
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14 pages, 302 KiB  
Article
The Role of Ambivalent Sexism, Punitiveness, and Ability to Recognize Violence in the Perception of Sex Offenders: A Gender-Perspective Analysis
by Carmen M. Leon and Chiara Rollero
Sexes 2021, 2(4), 495-508; https://doi.org/10.3390/sexes2040039 - 8 Dec 2021
Viewed by 3039
Abstract
Sexual violence is a public health problem that affects not just the victim, but the offender and the surrounding communities. Research shows that public perceptions regarding the perpetrators of such offenses are of critical importance since citizens’ insights are a major force in [...] Read more.
Sexual violence is a public health problem that affects not just the victim, but the offender and the surrounding communities. Research shows that public perceptions regarding the perpetrators of such offenses are of critical importance since citizens’ insights are a major force in the creation and implementation of sex offender policies. This study aimed to analyze, from a gender perspective, public perceptions about sex offenders in an Italian population sample (N = 768; 62.0% women, M = 32.8 years old). To do so, the Perceptions of Sex Offenders Scale (PSO) (α = 0.82) was used. The explanatory variables included in the study were the General Punitiveness Scale (GPS), the short versions of the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory (ASI), and the Ambivalence toward Men Inventory (AMI), as well as awareness about subtle forms of violence. Results showed that women reported higher levels of sex offenders’ risk perception. At the same time, it was found that men outscored women on the endorsement of stereotypes toward such perpetrators. Finally, findings revealed similarities and differences between women and men regarding correlates of perceptions about sex offenders. Implications for research and public policy in this area are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sexual Relationships, Sexual Behaviors and Gender-Based Violence)
16 pages, 299 KiB  
Article
The Trauma Recovery Actions Checklist: Applying Mixed Methods to a Holistic Gender-Based Violence Recovery Actions Measure
by Laura Sinko, Limor Goldner and Denise Marie Saint Arnault
Sexes 2021, 2(3), 363-377; https://doi.org/10.3390/sexes2030029 - 7 Sep 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 4073
Abstract
Gender-Based Violence (GBV) trauma recovery models have evolved in such a way that survivors are viewed as actively engaging in a multitude of strategies. In addition to seeking help and coping, survivors engage in diverse lifestyle, social, spiritual, and practical strategies to promote [...] Read more.
Gender-Based Violence (GBV) trauma recovery models have evolved in such a way that survivors are viewed as actively engaging in a multitude of strategies. In addition to seeking help and coping, survivors engage in diverse lifestyle, social, spiritual, and practical strategies to promote their health and wellbeing. This exploratory sequential mixed-methods study develops an instrument to measure the holistic recovery actions used by GBV survivors. The qualitative phase combined recovery action codes from interviews with 50 GBV survivors in three different survivor samples to create an initial six-concept 41-item Trauma Recovery Actions Checklist (TRAC). The quantitative psychometrics phase used data from 289 American GBV survivors. Results revealed a five-factor 35-item final version (sharing/connecting; building positive emotions; reflecting and creating healing spaces; establishing security; and planning the future). There were positive significant correlations between sharing/connecting and depression scores, and between sharing/connecting, reflecting, and building security with PTSD scores. No correlations were found between any recovery action type and the barriers to help-seeking subscales of Problem Management Beliefs, Discrimination, or Unavailability. However, there were significant negative correlations between Shame and Financial barriers and Sharing/Connecting, and between Feeling Frozen, Constraints, and Establishing Security. Implications for research, clinical practice and ways of understanding survivorship recovery are suggested. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sexual Relationships, Sexual Behaviors and Gender-Based Violence)
28 pages, 1974 KiB  
Article
Gender-Stratified Analysis of Haitian Perceptions Related to Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Perpetrated by UN Peacekeepers during MINUSTAH
by Luissa Vahedi, Heather Stuart, Stéphanie Etienne, Sabine Lee and Susan A. Bartels
Sexes 2021, 2(2), 216-243; https://doi.org/10.3390/sexes2020019 - 15 Jun 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 4877
Abstract
Feminist scholarship has analyzed the gendered dynamics of national- and international-level risk factors for peacekeeper-perpetrated sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA); however, the gendered dynamics within the host country have not been adequately considered. Using the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) as [...] Read more.
Feminist scholarship has analyzed the gendered dynamics of national- and international-level risk factors for peacekeeper-perpetrated sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA); however, the gendered dynamics within the host country have not been adequately considered. Using the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) as a case study, this research analyzes gender differences within community-level perceptions of SEA. Using SenseMaker® as a data collection tool, cross-sectional qualitative and quantitative data were collected by Haitian research assistants over an 8-week period in 2017. Participants first shared a narrative in relation to MINUSTAH and then self-interpreted their narratives by noting their perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs on a variety of questions. The self-coded perceptions were analyzed quantitatively to determine patterns, and this was complemented with a qualitative analysis of the narratives. Women/girls were more likely to perceive the sexual interactions as “relationships” compared to Haitian men/boys. Furthermore, women/girls were more likely to perceive the peacekeeper as “supportive”, whereas men/boys conceptualized the peacekeeper as “authoritative”. SEA-related policies/programs, such as the UN Trust Fund in Support for Victims of SEA, should engage with local Haitian actors and consider such nuanced and gendered perceptions to maximize community trust and program efficacy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sexual Relationships, Sexual Behaviors and Gender-Based Violence)
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13 pages, 537 KiB  
Article
Narcissism and Subjective Arousal in Response to Sexual Aggression: The Mediating Role of Perceived Power
by Virgil Zeigler-Hill and David Andrews
Sexes 2021, 2(2), 189-201; https://doi.org/10.3390/sexes2020017 - 20 May 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4787
Abstract
The present research examined the associations that narcissistic personality features had with subjective arousal in response to sexually aggressive behaviors, as well as whether these associations were mediated by the power that was believed to accompany these behaviors. Participants were 221 community members [...] Read more.
The present research examined the associations that narcissistic personality features had with subjective arousal in response to sexually aggressive behaviors, as well as whether these associations were mediated by the power that was believed to accompany these behaviors. Participants were 221 community members (115 women, 106 men) who completed a self-report instrument that captured narcissistic admiration (an agentic form of narcissism) and narcissistic rivalry (an antagonistic form of narcissism). In addition, participants were asked to rate how powerful they would expect to feel if they actually engaged in an array of sexually aggressive behaviors (e.g., “Tying up a person during sexual intercourse against her/his will”) as well as how sexually aroused they would be by each behavior. A multilevel mediation analysis revealed that both narcissistic admiration and narcissistic rivalry were positively associated with subjective arousal in response to sexual aggression and that these associations were mediated by the perceived power that was believed to accompany these sexually aggressive behaviors. These results suggest that perceptions of power may play an important role in the connections that narcissistic personality features have with subjective arousal in response to sexually aggressive behavior for both men and women. This discussion will focus on the implications of these results for understanding the connections between narcissism and sexual aggression in both men and women. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sexual Relationships, Sexual Behaviors and Gender-Based Violence)
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Review

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19 pages, 360 KiB  
Review
Beyond the Screen: Violence and Aggression towards Women within an Excepted Online Space
by Shireen Bernstein, Wayne A. Warburton, Kay Bussey and Naomi Sweller
Sexes 2022, 3(1), 78-96; https://doi.org/10.3390/sexes3010007 - 21 Jan 2022
Viewed by 4313
Abstract
This theoretical review explores the possibility that the consumption of internet pornography (IP) represents a credible risk factor in the perpetration of aggression and violence against women. Sexual violence, abuse, and degradation of women is commonly depicted in mainstream heterosexual IP. Despite the [...] Read more.
This theoretical review explores the possibility that the consumption of internet pornography (IP) represents a credible risk factor in the perpetration of aggression and violence against women. Sexual violence, abuse, and degradation of women is commonly depicted in mainstream heterosexual IP. Despite the violent tenor, the effect this material may have on beliefs, attitudes and behaviors is understudied, as are the reasons why violent and degrading IP is so widely viewed, enjoyed, and accepted. Both theory and empirical findings support the contention that depictions of violence in IP may contribute to real world aggression and violence against women, with two relevant spheres of inquiry proposed in this theoretical review. The first considers IP as a ‘zone of cultural exception’, in which the perpetration of violent and degrading acts against women are eroticized and celebrated, despite such behaviors being considered antisocial in wider society. It is suggested that this excepted status is enabled by the operation of the third person effect to negate the detrimental effects of IP. The second explores the objectification and dehumanization of women in IP and the use of moral disengagement by viewers to enable their disavowal of any harm in the depicted violence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sexual Relationships, Sexual Behaviors and Gender-Based Violence)
14 pages, 844 KiB  
Review
Exploring the Linkages between Substance Use, Natural Disasters, Pandemics, and Intimate Partner Violence against Women: A Rapid Review in the Context of COVID-19
by Andreea C. Brabete, Lindsay Wolfson, Julie Stinson, Nancy Poole, Sarah Allen and Lorraine Greaves
Sexes 2021, 2(4), 509-522; https://doi.org/10.3390/sexes2040040 - 14 Dec 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3990
Abstract
Rates of intimate partner violence (IPV) and substance use have risen during the COVID-19 pandemic, with potentially enduring effects on women’s health. A rapid review was conducted on IPV and women’s substance use in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The rapid review [...] Read more.
Rates of intimate partner violence (IPV) and substance use have risen during the COVID-19 pandemic, with potentially enduring effects on women’s health. A rapid review was conducted on IPV and women’s substance use in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The rapid review explored two separate research questions with a view to integrate the literature related to: (1) containment, social isolation, pandemics, disasters, lockdowns, and IPV; and (2) the relationships between substance use and IPV. Two different searches for each question were conducted between May and October 2020 and n = 47 articles were included. Women experience multiple physical and mental health consequences related to IPV that can be exacerbated by public health crises such as pandemics and disasters. Perpetrators may use these events as a tactic to threaten, isolate, or use coercive control. Similar tactics are reported in the complex relationship between IPV and substance use, where substance use can accompany IPV and/or be used as a coping mechanism for survivors. The findings highlight long standing women’s health concerns made further visible during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional research is needed to identify actions required to reduce gender inequities and harms associated with IPV and substance use, and to adequately tailor and prepare effective responses in the context of future public health crises. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sexual Relationships, Sexual Behaviors and Gender-Based Violence)
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