Sexual coercion is among the subtlest forms of sexual violence in a relationship and sometimes goes unnoticed by the victims. This study, conducted by Marta Garrido-Macías of the University of Alicante and Inmaculada Valor-Segura and Francisca Expósito, researchers at CIMCYC, analyzed the factors that potentially mitigate women's negative perceptions of intimate partner sexual coercion (IPSC)
A total of 427 women completed an online survey where they responded to questions reflecting their perception of risk, their perceptions of abuser behavior, and the likelihood that they would leave the relationship. The survey also asked about their previous IPSC experience, and their level of acceptance of sexual assault myths.
According to the results, women exposed to the positive (vs. negative) verbal sexual coercion (VSC) condition decided to leave the abusive situation later, perceived the abuser's behavior as more acceptable and excusable, and were less likely to leave the relationship.
Finally, greater myth acceptance and previous IPSC experience predicted a lower probability of leaving the relationship, due to delayed risk responses and to perceiving the abuser’s behavior as more acceptable and excusable. This was true regardless of the type of coercive tactic used by the perpetrator.
Therefore, the results highlight the need to consider the type of coercive tactic, previous experience, and myth acceptance as risk factors that may prevent a woman from perceiving and responding appropriately to intimate partner’s sexual violence.
Garrido-Macías M, Valor-Segura I, Expósito F. Women's Risk Perception and Responses to Intimate Partner Sexual Coercion: The Role of Type of Tactic, Previous Experience, and Myths Acceptance. Span J Psychol. 2022 Jun 9;25:e18. doi: 10.1017/SJP.2022.15. PMID: 35678068.