Why Women Don’t Scream, Fight Back, or Report Sexual Assaults and Rapes

Show NotesWomen don’t scream or fight back during sexual assaults and rapes due to protective brain responses and cultural conditioning.

Soccer player Jenni Hermoso’s story of sexual assault

In this podcast, listen to the recent story of how World Cup soccer player Jenni Hermoso was forcibly kissed by soccer federation president Luis Rubiales and how this experience mirrors so many other times when girls and women have had their boundaries crossed.

Stats on number of assaults & how few are reported & prosecuted

Learn the sobering statistics of how few rape cases are reported, prosecuted, and convicted and why this is so.

Why women don’t remember details about the assault

Understand how the brain changes how it is encoding memories during sexual assaults which creates gaps in women’s memories of the assault. 

Learn how quickly stress hormones are released by the brain during assaults and how these impair the prefrontal cortex and its ability to reason.

Why women freeze and become speechless during assaults

Learn the brain and evolutionary reasons why women respond to terror and assaults by primitive brain responses such as freezing, tonic immobility, and dissociation. if the fear circuitry perceives escape as impossible and resistance as futile, then not fight or flight, but extreme survival reflexes (which scientists call “animal defense responses”) will take over to try to protect women. Women’s body’s are literally paralyzed by fear, thus making them unable to move, run, speak, or cry out. 

Women don’t cry out because Broca’s area of the brain, our speech center, shuts down as a way to not draw attention to them; thus, women are literally scared speechless.

Ways to support girls & women after their rape or assault

Dr. Jordan shares ways we need to approach girls and women who have been sexually assaulted or raped to make them feel safe, heard, understood, and supported. This will require education police officers, any first responders, ER staff, doctors and nurses, teachers, and parents. 

Good resources for further information on this topic:

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town, by Jon Krakauer

Spanish soccer player Jenni Hermosa kissed by federation president Luis Rubiales

What people misunderstand about rape article: NY Times, 8-22-23 Jen Percy


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