Saturday, 21 March 2015

Rape is not about sex

Every so often, I facilitate gender training. One of my favourite ways to get discussions started is a quiz, inspired by the 1994 classic, The Oxfam Gender Training Manual (Suzanne Williams with Janet Seed and Adelina Mwau). I read a set of statements - for instance, recent research findings related to the field the participants work in - about sex and gender. For each statement, the participants are asked to determine whether it is about sex (as in biologically male, female or a bit of both - not sexual activity) or gender (roughly speaking, the behaviour societies expect from people according to their sex).

The discussions are always interesting. In a recent quiz of that type, I read the statement:  "A survey in Botswana revealed that 67% of school girls interviewed had been subjected to sexual harassment by teachers; 10% had consented to sex for fear of reprisals." (That was about a decade ago.)
One participant argued the statement was about sex.