Fox News — A new study has revealed why women are often criticized for speaking out on issues that are considered taboo, even when they feel they are being unfairly targeted.
The study, published in the journal Sex Roles, analyzed how a sample of 3,836 female undergraduates responded to a survey about the effects of gender stereotypes on their experiences of sexual assault.
The study found that women were more likely to feel that they were being targeted and criticized for expressing their views about sex and relationships.
The survey also revealed that female undergraduate participants felt that their peers were more supportive of their views.
“Women are often perceived to be less credible, less likely to be seen as trustworthy, and more likely than men to be victimized by a rape culture,” study author Lauren Rauch, an assistant professor of sociology at Indiana University, said in a press release.
The researchers found that the way in which people react to a female speaker’s words has a significant impact on how the person responds to the speaker’s message.
For instance, women who felt they were receiving negative attention from peers for speaking their mind were more inclined to be critical of their speech and to blame their peers for the harm done to them.
“While our findings suggest that the experience of being viewed as ‘untrustworthy’ can be both a powerful and psychologically devastating event, we are also concerned that our study has highlighted a potential confluence of social and cultural norms that contribute to the perception of women as ‘less credible,’ ‘less trustworthy,’ and less ’empowered’ than men,” the researchers wrote.
The new study was led by a team of researchers at the University of Illinois and University of Michigan.
Raucher also conducted a survey of more than 200 women in college.
They found that more than 80 percent of the women surveyed felt their experiences had been affected by a lack of support from their peers, a lack in support from others, and the perceived threat of physical or sexual violence.
“We found that a significant proportion of college women feel that their social and/or cultural contexts have negatively impacted their ability to advocate on their own behalf,” the study said.
The findings suggest there may be a growing understanding that women are more vulnerable to sexual assault and that the consequences of silence can have lasting impacts.
The authors said that there needs to be more awareness of these issues and of how social norms impact women’s experiences.
“In light of the social stigma that we are experiencing, it may be important to engage women and other people of color in conversations about these issues,” Rauches said.