Half Aussie youth think spying on partner ‘OK’, 20% say rape victims ‘ask for it’ - study

© Kiyoshi Ota
Nearly half of all young Australians say spying on one’s partner is acceptable, while one in five believe that rape victims can be blamed for the crime as women often “say ‘No’ when they mean ‘Yes’,” a new report shows.

The study carried out by Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth). The group surveyed 1923 people aged between 16 and 24 on their attitude to violence against women and gender equality.

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“One in five young people believe there are circumstances in which women bear part of the responsibility for sexual assault. For example, 20 percent of 16 to 24-year-olds believe that women often say ‘no’ when they mean ‘yes’ compared to 13 percent of the 35 to 64-year age group,” says the report.

Forty percent of young Australians said that “rape results from men not being able to control their sexual urges,” the survey added.

One more aspect the report touched upon was tracking your partner with modern technology. At least 84 percent of young people say that “tracking a partner by electronic means without her consent is serious," and nearly 46 percent of respondents believe that it is “acceptable to some degree.”

VicHealth drew several examples of modern technology that may control the movements of women without their consent.

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Among them are checking a woman’s mobile phone call register and contacts as well as instant messaging, chat room and browser activity. Also ‘webcams’ that record, and subsequently digitally transmit, information about a woman’s movements and activities are considered to be examples of technology that can spy on your partner.

"One of the most concerning aspects of the report is that a quarter of the respondents said they are ready to excuse violence,” said VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter.

“A quarter of young people (26 percent) agree that partner violence can be excused if the perpetrator regrets it and a further 24 percent agree that partner violence can be excused if the person is so angry they lose control,” she said.

According to Rechter, violence against women is accepted in the community.

“Men who use violence are more likely to feel it’s OK to behave disrespectfully or even violently, and as a community we’re less likely to take action when we see violence and disrespect,” she said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull launched a national initiative to tackle domestic violence on Thursday.