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The Identity Thief: How Politics, Religion, and Values Stole Support for Sexual Assault Reporting and the #MeToo Movement

Published onAug 03, 2022
The Identity Thief: How Politics, Religion, and Values Stole Support for Sexual Assault Reporting and the #MeToo Movement
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The Identity Thief: How Politics, Religion, and Values Stole Support for Sexual Assault Reporting and the #MeToo Movement
Description

In 2017, the hashtag #MeToo emerged as a sign of protest and solidarity challenging the status quo of sexual assault underreporting. Over the next year, reported cases of sexual assault increased by 86.5% (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2014-2018). As it began, #MeToo experienced broad support from across American society. Inflection points have tested this support, as for example, in Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony before congress (Wright et al., 2021). In an increasingly polarized era, we examine the role that self-reported political identity, participation with a religious community, and value-identities of Conformity, Security, and Tradition play in shaping attitudes about sexual assault reporting and the #MeToo movement. Our findings suggest that religiosity and political identity is complexly correlated with the increasingly politicized #MeToo movement. We also find that support for sexaul assault reporting and the #MeToo moment gets filtered through value-identities of Conformity, Security, and Tradition with the aggregate effect stifling support. We conclude that identities shaped by conservative politics, androcentric religious traditions, and values oriented toward Conformity, Security, and Tradition serve as foundational social psychological factors needing additional attention, as emerging research investigates the potential for movements increasingly defined by identity divisions, for example, rising Christian Nationalism and related protests.

 

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