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  • Author or Editor: Marianne Cense x
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Studies among transgender people show an increased risk of sexual victimisation. We designed a survey to gain more insight into the characteristics of sexual victimisation of transgender people in the Netherlands which shows that 30 per cent reported that they had experienced at least one type of sexual violence during their life course. Most respondents (87.0 per cent) were not (yet) in transition at the time they experienced sexual violence. Victimisation often took place between the ages of 16 and 25 and was significantly related to childhood gender nonconformity. Our additional qualitative study indicates that the victimisation of transgender people is also connected to other risk factors, such as vulnerability deriving from gender dysphoria, minority stress, social isolation and exclusion. The narratives of transgender victims show how sexual victimisation deeply affects their wellbeing. Gender dysphoria and sexual victimisation interact, which complicates the lives of transgender people. Transgender victims need support by professionals who are sensitive to both experiences of gender dysphoria and sexual victimisation and the way these experiences interrelate. However, the victimisation of transgender people also highlights the need for a broadening of the scope of policies and research on gender based violence, and move beyond the gender binary of women and men.

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Recently #MeToo visualised worldwide the scale of sexual coercion and the connection of sexual coercion to gender norms and power structures. Negotiating sexual interactions with a partner is deeply intimate, yet it is also fundamentally influenced by surrounding social norms. We conducted in-depth interviews with 68 ethnically diverse Dutch young men and women (16–21) about their sexual experiences to understand how norms and values shape their sexual negotiations. Narratives showed the continued relevance of heteronormative gender roles, with participants framing sexual negotiations as a contest between opposing sides, dictated by different rules for women and men. Other narratives suggested that the normative landscape may be changing, with women drawing on discourses of autonomy and men using mutuality as a guiding principle. Our findings indicate that while conventional gender norms and scripts continue to prescribe sexual negotiations, many Dutch youth also exercise alternative discourses in their sexual relationships. Efforts to reduce sexual coercion must incorporate attention to both the old and emerging gender norms that govern sexual negotiations.

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