This is Abuse: Young women’s experiences of sexual coercion 

Dr Ceryl Davies, University of Bangor 

This webinar presents research that focused on exploring how young women discussed their attitudes towards, and experiences of, intimate relationships. The overall aim was to identify, explore and advance information with regards to the nature and patterns of abuse experienced by young women.  

A regional study completed across seven secondary schools in North Wales, included an attitudinal survey (n=220) to explore young women’s perceptions on gender norms and un/healthy intimate relationships, with a particular focus on their gendered attitudes. A series of semi-structured interviews were completed in order to gather in-depth information from 25 young women aged 15-18 years old.  

This webinar explores in detail the theme of sexual ‘double standards’, sexual coercion, consent, choice, power and control. The consequences of sexual coercion, both subtly and overtly, resulted in the young women questioning their self-worth if they submitted to both unwanted and wanted advances. This illustrates the sexual coercion of meeting male sexual desires within their timescales. The discussion will also outline the pressures within young intimate relationships and the uncertainty of the boundaries around sex, choice and control.  

The research concluded that abusive behaviour in young intimate relationships was overtly displayed, indicating a lack of awareness of acceptable behaviours or indeed the need to hide this harmful display of abuse. This reflects that it has become acceptable among young people to display sexual coercion in the public arena, reflecting their normalisation of sexual coercion. 

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