No means no

The NSPCC and Sugar magazine have conducted an online survey on teenage girls unwanted sexual experiences. I can’t find the survey details (they were printed in Sugar magazine last week) but the NSPCC press release with details is here. Highlights (if you could call them that) are:

45% of teenage girls have had their bottoms or breasts groped against their will.

56% of unwanted sexual experiences occurred for the first time when the recipient was under (yes under) 14. (30% aged 12 or under, 26% aged 13).

44% were made to feel guilty for saying ‘no’.

Check out the rest of the statistics, including 51% felt as though the incident was at least partly their fault, and 7% thought there were some reasons for forcing a girl.

Anyway, I thought this was interesting because I find that students often respond to articles about sexual harassment or the silencing effect of pornography etc, by saying “well, girls are more assertive and in control nowadays, this article was probably right in the seventies, but things are different now”. Indeed, I’ve heard students raise the age of the statistics used by Rae Langton in “Speech Acts and Unspeakable Acts” as a reason for maybe rejecting Langton’s argument. If this survey is right, “no” isn’t any closer to meaning no now than it was twenty or thirty years ago.