Disturbing beliefs held by Aussies
A NEW report has revealed that many Australians still hold unsettling and outdated beliefs in regards to violence against women and sexual assault.
Australia may like to be seen as a progressive nation but a new report by Australia's National Research Organisation for Women's Safety (ANROWS) has revealed we are actually slipping backwards in certain areas relating to how women are viewed in our society.
The National Community Attitudes toward Violence against Women Survey (NCAS) collects information from 17,500 Australians aged 16 and over and aims to gain an accurate understand of the beliefs held by all different types of Australians.
Findings from the survey is released every four years, with the 2017 data released today and the previous one being published in 2013.
While there were a number of positive improvements, such as increased support for gender equality and a greater understanding of what violence against women is, there are still some deeply disturbing attitudes held by a large part of the population.
Some of the most concerning findings included:
- One in five Australians believe domestic violence is a normal reaction to stress and sometimes a woman can make a man so angry he hits her without meaning to.
- 12 per cent of Australians mistakenly think non-consensual sex in marriage is legal, while a further 7 per cent aren't sure.
- Since 1995 the number of people who recognise that men are more likely than women to use violence in relationships has gone down by 22 per cent.
- Almost a quarter of people think sexist jokes are okay.
- Two in five Australians think that women make up sexual assault reports just to punish men.
- One in three people believe a woman is responsible for experiencing domestic violence if she doesn't leave her abusive partner.
- 15 per cent of Australians believe non-consensual sex if justified if the woman initiated intimacy
- One in seven believe that a woman is partly responsible for being raped if she is drunk or on drugs
- 43 per cent of men think women make up claims of domestic violence when going through custody battles to improve their case
While it is clear there many Australians still hold outdated and harmful beliefs about domestic violence and sexual assault, there were many other areas that showed a positive change.
Nearly all Australians, 98 per cent, think it is wrong for men to joke with their male friends about being violent towards women.
The report showed Australian's attitudes to gender equality are changing in a positive way, with people a lot more likely to support gender equality in 2017 than they did in 2013 and 2009.
The majority of people have a greater understanding about what actually constitutes domestic violence.
The percentage of people who recognised hitting, threatening or forcing a partner to have sex as domestic violence has remained consistently high over the years.
But the 2017 results show more people now understand that controlling money, preventing a partner from seeing friends and family, repeatedly criticising a partner and repeated harassment via email or text are also forms of domestic violence.
The vast majority of Australians do not endorse violence against women, though there are specific areas of understanding within the topic of domestic violence and assault that still need to be addressed.