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Drug Assisted Sexualised Assault in the UK: A Feminist, Discursive - Narrative Exploration of the Experiences of Women and Professionals

By Clare Potter


This research was concerned with drug assisted sexualised assault(hereafter referred to as DASA*)in the UK. Sexual assault has been\ud highlighted by the Home Office as a top priority and a recent consultation document(Home Office, 2000)recognises that different forms of rape\ud have come to the attention of the public over the last ten years, for example, date rape, drug rape and male rape. However studies relating to DASA in the UK are extremely limited and therefore relatively little is known empirically or conceptually about the phenomenon. The research\ud had a number of aims: 1) To explore the discourses within the accounts of professionals when discussing their experiences of providing services to survivors of DASA. 2) To explore how survivors perceive their experiences of being subjected to DASA. 3) To explore how discourses\ud around rape and DASA relate to survivors’ accounts of their experiences after the assault. 4) To contribute towards the development of a\ud conceptual understanding of DASA in terms of experience and ‘recovery’. A total of ten interviews were carried out with individual women about their understandings and experiences of DASA. The sample included survivors, policewomen, counsellors and managers of sexual assault\ud services. A discursive analysis based on a ‘macro approach’ (Foucault, 1972) was carried out on the interviews with professionals. The analysis\ud highlighted the ways in which the ‘tellability’ (Livesey, 2002) of DASA may be undermined by a number of current dominant discourses reflected in\ud the accounts of professionals. Analysis of the interviews with survivors took a narrative approach in that the interviews were analysed for the ways in which women storied themselves within their accounts (Taylor, Gilligan and Sullivan, 1996). There were a number of ways in which the survivors interviewed seemed to be constrained by dominant cultural resources relating to sexualised violence. These survivors were not,\ud however, constituted by these dominant resources but rather sought to resist them in a number of ways. This provides a challenge to discourses\ud around sexualised violence as having a permanently devastating impact on women’s lives, suggesting that women can and do move on to regain\ud control over their lives after having been subjected by men to DASA.\ud \ud * The author was reluctant to abbreviate drug assisted sexualised assault to DASA - to\ud do so may contribute to the ‘hidden’ nature of this form of violence against women.\ud However the decision was made to use the DASA abbreviation in order to improve the\ud readability of the text

Topics: HN, HV
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.hud.ac.uk:6977

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