Young women’s responses to safety advice in bars and clubs

Implications for future sexual violence prevention campaigns

Authored by: Oona Brooks

The Routledge Handbook of Gender and Violence

Print publication date:  December  2017
Online publication date:  December  2017

Print ISBN: 9781472483515
eBook ISBN: 9781315612997
Adobe ISBN:


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Contemporary young women appear to have greater freedoms to drink and socialise within the night-time economy than their predecessors (Brooks, 2008). Meanwhile, bars and clubs have been subject to a process of feminisation as part of an appeal to the female market (Chatterton and Hollands, 2003). However, young women are simultaneously positioned as ‘a risk’ and ‘at risk’ when they socialise in bars and clubs. Hence, they have also been identified as the primary audience for personal safety campaigns intended to prevent sexual assault in bars and clubs. A renewed interest in the dissemination of safety advice to young women has been prompted by concern about drug and alcohol assisted sexual assault (Beynon et al., 2005; Brooks, 2013; Burgess et al., 2009; Moore, 2009; Sturman, 2000) and women’s increased levels of alcohol consumption (Mathews and Richardson, 2005; McKenzie and Haw, 2006; Richardson and Budd, 2003). Bars and clubs have also been identified as environments characterised by hypersexuality and loss of control (Gunby et al., 2016). Within these environments, young women have been identified as particularly vulnerable to sexual assault (Becker and Tinkler, 2014; Graham et al., 2014; Moreton, 2002; Schwartz, 1997; Sturman, 2000; Watson, 2000) and sexual aggression by men is perceived as an inevitability (Becker and Tinkler, 2014; Kavanaugh, 2013).

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