26 August 2010


Ingrid Smette

”Defining sexual abuse and responsibility in relationshipos between minors and adults: Young people’s perspectives”: Most countries have a legal age of consent, setting the minimum age for the involvement of a young person in sexual relationships. According to these laws, engaging in a sexual relationship with a young person below this age is defined as abuse, regardless of whether the young person has consented to the relationship. This paper examines how young perople define sexual abuse in minor-adult relationships and how the attribute responsibility and blame for the assault. The paper further explores the link between the attribution of responsibility and the labelling of incidents as abusive, exploitative or legitimate. Our study derives from quantitative and qualitative data: a school survey of 4 585 students in their final year of upper secondary school amd focus group interviews involving fifty six young perople, ages 16-17 year olds. The analyses indicate that stereotypical conceprions of what constitutes rape influence how young perople construct sexual assault in minor-adult relationships. In evaluations of responsibility, critical issues are the distinction between categories ‘children’ and ‘youth’, and the young person’s intent and possible consent.

Status:    Finished
Country: Norway
Contact: ingrid.smette@nova.no

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