One In Five Australians Have Admitted To Committing Acts Of Sexual Violence Since Turning 18

One In Five Australians Have Admitted To Committing Acts Of Sexual Violence Since Turning 18
Content Warning: This article discusses domestic violence.

Concerning new figures released by the Australian Institute of Criminology today found that one in five Australians have perpetrated one or more forms of sexual violence since the age of 18.

This is from one of the largest community surveys conducted in Australia focusing on sexual violence and defined sexual violence to recognise that it can manifest in many different ways.

It included coercion as part of its definition of sexual violence to capture to spectrum the of abuse perpetrators can commit.

This can include someone using pressure or manipulation to force someone into going on a date or having sex. In addition to this, recording or sharing intimate images or videos and sexual assault were also included.

The study found that men were more likely to commit sexual violence than women, with one in four men having admitted to perpetrating sexual violence, while only two in ten women were perpetrators.

This is consistent with decades of data, finding that sexual violence in Australia is gendered, with male respondents in the new study being significantly more likely than women to report committing all forms of sexual violence as well as multiple forms of abuse at once. 

The authors of the study noted that men also are likely to under self-report rates of sexual violence for a range of reasons. These include wanting to minimise looking bad among their peers, needing to find ways to justify their actions or not understanding that their behaviour counts as abuse. So while these numbers are already incredibly staggering, it is suspected they could be higher.

Pressuring someone for a date or sex were the most self-reported behaviours in the study, and it also found that perpetrators have been applying pressure to get people to take drugs or alcohol before requesting sex.

Kate Fitz-Gibbon from Monash University told ABC News Breakfast that from here, we need to use this data to look into who and what age people start using sexual violence so we can create effective and tailored responses to stop sexual violence in Australia.

This report comes in the wake of domestic violence surging across the country and earlier this week the government announced it would be pledging to almost double the number of projects to fund safe places over the next three years. 

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