Saturday, July 28, 2007

You Say Persuasion I Say Coercion

An area of sexual violence that many people have a terrible time grasping is coercion that doesn't involve undeniable threats of physical violence.

This difficulty is one of the reasons coercion is so powerful. Just as people who hear about rape through coercion have a tough time understanding it, those who are targeted by those willing to use coercion as a weapon can have a tough time understanding that they are a target. Many times these are the nicest rapists.

I can't remember who said, "Give me a lever and I can move the world" in relation to mechanical engineering, but this idea also holds true when it comes to people. This has been studied though often not identified as such.

False confessions come out of coercion and the misuse of leverage. There has been at least one study that found that when the other planted study participants all gave the same wrong answer (including which line was the longest) that the real study participants were likely to question their own perception and then to actually believe that the wrong answer was the right one.

Those who use coercion as a sexualized weapon often try to take this power of leverage and combine it with others' best attributes such as trust and love and use those against the other person.

We make a critical mistake when we call these victims stupid or say they lack good judgment or say that they changed their minds but want to escape personal responsibility. This mistake comes from people wanting to believe that they could never be coerced with anything less than threat of death. This denial puts people at greater danger.

Think of the con man who steals your money by promising you a great investment or a new roof or a bathroom remodel. You were robbed -- deliberately -- but the criminal laws may not protect you since no one held a gun to your head as you wrote out that check.

But at least you aren't considered to be someone making a false accusation when you tell people you were robbed.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:30 PM   0 comments links to this post


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