Quick and easy discussion question for Communications

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Discussion Activity Based on Kitzinger & Frith (1999) “Just Say No”

Please write a 3 sentences for each question with quotes from the source.

Kitzinger and Frith (1999) explore the question of why it is a problem to try to solve sexual assault and date rape by telling people to “just say no.” They argue that “date rape prevention and (similar) programs which insist upon ‘just saying no’ as appropriate behavior are deeply problematic” (p.294).

More specifically, many “just say no” programs rely on the assumption that date rape occurs due to miscommunication and misunderstanding, perhaps based on gender differences in communication. Miscommunication theories surrounding issues of date rape assume that men just can’t understand the nuances of women’s refusals and that women are just being too indirect for men to understand.

Based on your reading of Kitzinger and Frith (1999), answer the following questions for this discussion activity.

1. Why is “just say no” a problem?

2. What do you think about this “just say no” advice to women for the purpose of preventing date rape and sexual assault?

3. Do you agree that the problem of date rape is mainly a “communication problem” as miscommunication theories assumed above? Explain why.

4. According to the authors, “young women are communicating in ways which are usually understood to mean refusal in other contexts and it is not the adequacy of their communication that should be questioned” (p.310). If you agree with Kitzinger and Firth that communication is not the issue here, how can we prevent date rape? Should we focus on looking for “consent” rather than waiting for the “refusal” in sexual encounters?


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