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​New survey reveals 1 in 5 young people believes it's 'normal' for a boy to pressure a girl for sex

February 23 2017 By Hannah Grant, Our Watch Media and Ambassador Program Manager

New survey results released today by The Line reveal 1 in 5 young people (12-20) thinks it’s ‘normal’ for a boy to put pressure on girls to do sexual things and 22% think the girl is responsible for making it very clear if she doesn’t want to have sex.

The Line Digital Youth Committee member Callum Jones (21 years old) said as people start University next week they need to realise that it’s never ok to pressure someone into any sort of sexual activity without their consent.

“It’s far from a crime to engage in sexual activity, but gaining consent must be mutual and continuous if we are to bring down the high rates of reported sexual assaults at Universities across Australia” said Jones.
The Line survey results correlate with internal police reports uncovered in late 2016 which revealed rampant sexual assaults at universities across Australia. 

“From rapes in dorm rooms and bushes to being molested in corridors, female students have reported many horrifying incidents of sexual assault” said Jones.

“This is why The Line is engaging with University students during O-Week to encourage people to understand what makes a relationship healthy and respectful, even if the relationship only lasts a night,” he said.

The Line Campaign Manager Nicola Weston said that since The Line’s first tracking survey in September 2015, there has also been some positive progress in attitudes.

“Over the past thirteen months, there has been a measurable decrease (from 42% to 29%) in the number of young people who think that most females could leave a violent relationship if they wanted to.”

“Unfortunately, some victim blaming attitudes still exist with 1 in 5 young people believing that if a female is drunk or affected by drugs, she is at least partly responsible for unwanted sex, and 28% believing it is hard to be respectful of a female who wears revealing clothing,” said Weston.

“For too long, it’s been the responsibility of victims to keep themselves safe. It’s not the responsibility of the people being hurt to alter their behaviour, that’s not where change needs to happen. It’s the responsibility of people who think it’s ok to be violent or controlling to change their behaviour.

“The onus must always be on a perpetrator of assault, sexual or otherwise. The Line is all about helping young people understand that pressure for sex is not normal, it’s abuse. 

“It’s also about saying when it comes to relationships, learn where the line is as the only one responsible for your behaviour if you cross it is you” she said.

About The Line

The Line is Australia’s long-term, evidence-based campaign that encourages healthy, equal and respectful relationships by challenging and changing attitudes and behaviours that can lead to violence against women. This includes defining behaviours that cross the line; challenging social norms around rigid gender roles, gender inequality, and sexism; redefining a strong man as never hurting a woman; and encouraging young people to break the cycle of violence. 

The Line is for young people aged 12 to 20, and it also supports parents, caregivers, teachers and other influencers.

Media contact:

Hannah Grant, Media Manager, Our Watch: 0448 844 930 or hannah.grant@ourwatch.org.au

*If you cover this story, or any story regarding violence against women and children, please include the following tagline:

“If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000. For more information about a service in your state or local area download the DAISY App in the App Store or Google Play.”

Access guides for reporting about violence against women and their children.