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WVU expert: women fear retaliation, blame for sexual assault/harassment accusations


WVU expert Walter DeKeseredy explains why victims are apprehensive about coming forward with accusations of sexual assault/harassment. 

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In the month since actress Amber Anderson accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment, a flood of accusations against the producer has opened the door for a deluge of allegations against other high-profile men, including Dustin Hoffman and Kevin Spacey. Accusations of sexual assault/harassment aren’t new, but the proliferation of women and men who have spoken up about their own experiences is. A West Virginia University expert explains why a victim may take a long time to come forward.

Walter DeKeseredy
Director, Research Center on Violence
Professor, Anna Deane Carlson Endowed Chair of Social Sciences
WVU Department of Sociology and Anthropology

“Women don’t report sooner because the fear retaliation, such as losing their jobs or getting low grades from instructors. Women also fear that no one will believe them or that they will be blamed for ‘leading men along.’ Most cases of sexual harassment or sexual assault never result in formal punishment, another key reason why so few victims officially report. The report against Keven Spacey was swiftly dealt with because he assaulted a minor. As well, there is still the prevailing myth that gay men are the most common child predators, which is clearly not the case. The vast majority of child predators are heterosexual.”

Walter DeKeseredy audio file (:49)

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