Sexual violence ‘disturbingly common’ as research shows one in five admit to it | SMH

More than one in five adult Australians, including more than a quarter of men, say they have perpetrated at least one form of sexual violence – and one in 14 people had done so in the past 12 months.

In one of the first studies into self-reported perpetration of sexual violence, the Australian Institute of Criminology found 22 per cent of a representative national sample of 5000 people said they had committed some form of it since the age of 18.

Pressuring someone for dates or sex, emotionally or psychologically manipulating someone to participate in sexual activity, and non-consensual kissing or touching were the most common forms of sexual violence people said they had committed in the past 12 months.

Just over one in 10 respondents (11.4 per cent) said they had perpetrated sexual assault during adulthood, 2.7 per cent said they had had intercourse without the victim’s permission – which is rape – and 2.4 per cent had removed a condom during sex, a practice known as stealthing.

“Importantly, while one in six women reported perpetrating some form of sexual violence during adulthood … this was primarily attributable to their rates of sexual harassment and coercion perpetration,” the authors noted.

“These forms of sexual violence were the items with the smallest differences between men and women. In contrast, rates of perpetration of all forms of sexual assault and IBSA [image-based sexual abuse] were two to five times higher for men than women.”

Campaign group Our Watch’s chief executive, Patty Kinnersly, described the data as shocking and said it showed the gendered nature of sexual violence. “The volume of perpetrators demonstrates the need for efforts to end violence against women to be targeting the whole population,” she said.

“The evidence shows that the underlying drivers of violence against women, including sexual violence, are rigid gender stereotypes, gender inequality and disrespect. These attitudes and the violence they drive can be prevented.”


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