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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Agency, Resistance and the Non ‘Ideal Victim’: How women deal with everyday sexual violence

Roberts, Nicola, Donovan, Catherine, Tudor, Kate and Durey, Matthew (2018) Agency, Resistance and the Non ‘Ideal Victim’: How women deal with everyday sexual violence. In: British Society of Criminology Annual Conference, 3 - 6 Jul 2018, Birmingham City University. (Unpublished)

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


In 2016, the Emerald Project administered a university-wide online survey asking male and female students about their experiences, during their time as a student, of a range of types of interpersonal violence and abuse: verbal abuse or bullying; physical violence or abuse; sexual violence or abuse; stalking or online harassment, at a Northern University in England. Both quantitative and qualitative data shows that women are more likely to experience sexual violence compared to men. Sexual harassment/assault is pervasive in women’s everyday lives. Whilst many everyday acts of sexual violence reported to the project did not meet the legal threshold of a crime, it was in the night-time economy where many criminal acts of sexual assault were documented. Using Christie’s (1986) concept of the ‘ideal victim’ as weak, and without agency, and also drawing on the work of Kelly (1988), Jagervi (2014) and others, we present the accounts of how women resist men’s sexual violence, often alone - much of the sexual violence was not reported - and often with good effect. Whilst women’s accounts of resistance are viewed as positive strategies to deal with sexual violence, they illustrate oppressive strategies because women continually check and change their behaviour as a result of sexual violence. As such, strategies that recognise both i) the impact of sexual violence on women and ii) women as agentic victims of sexual violence are needed to foster a widespread zero tolerance approach to sexual violence against women. This should include challenging dominant discourses of masculinity.

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More Information

Depositing User: Nicola Roberts


Item ID: 9741
Official URL:

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Nicola Roberts: ORCID iD
ORCID for Kate Tudor: ORCID iD
ORCID for Matthew Durey: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2018 10:48
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2021 09:42


Author: Nicola Roberts ORCID iD
Author: Kate Tudor ORCID iD
Author: Matthew Durey ORCID iD
Author: Catherine Donovan

University Divisions

Faculty of Education and Society
Faculty of Education and Society > School of Social Sciences


Social Sciences > Criminology

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