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Survey indicates 1 in 5 young women are being put under pressure to do sexual things

February 22 2016 By Hannah Grant, Media and Ambassador Program Manager

A quarter of young people think it’s ‘normal’ for a boy to put pressure on girls to do sexual things, and 60% think the girl is responsible for making it very clear if she doesn’t want to have sex.

This is according to new survey results released by the Our Watch youth campaign, The Line, which also found a fifth of young women are being put under pressure to do sexual things.

Our Watch Chief Executive Officer, Mary Barry, said that the research indicates many young people lack adequate information and guidance about sex and respectful relationships.

“As a result, the research tells us, they are largely left to figure it out for themselves with their only guides often being dubious and problematic role models, pornography and porn-inspired popular culture,” she said.

The same survey found more than a third (37%) said it is hard to respect a female when she is drunk; and more than a fifth (27%) said it is hard to be respectful of a female who wears revealing clothing.

These findings complement a 2013 survey from the National Union of Students which indicated that 67% of female students have suffered an unwanted sexual experience and 31% had sex when they were, or felt unable to give consent.

“These are just some of the reasons why The Line is engaging with university students about consent and respectful relationships during ‘O Week’,” said Ms Barry.

“Universities are an important setting for primary prevention activity and provide an opportunity to give young people guidance and information about sex and respectful relationships. But it shouldn’t be the first time young people receive support to work through these issues.

Our Watch advocates for Respectful Relationships Education to be integrated across early childhood education, primary, secondary to university,” said Ms Barry.

Queensland Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Shannon Fentiman, said the results were shocking.

The Line campaign is a great way to reach young people and challenge these disturbing views. There’s a clear link between negative attitudes of ownership and control over women and domestic and family violence,” Ms Fentiman said.

“It’s clear we must start early to help children and young people to learn healthy attitudes about gender equality.

“We have just launched respectful relationships education in Queensland primary and high schools and it is vital we continue to reinforce these messages at university level and beyond in our community.”

To coincide with the campaign launch and its board meeting in Queensland, Our Watch formally confirmed the Queensland Government as a member, following the Government announcing its decision to join last year.

The Line consent campaign is engaging young people at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, La Trobe University in Melbourne and Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane.

Queensland joins Victoria, the Northern Territory, South Australia, Tasmania and the Commonwealth as members of Our Watch.

Chair of Our Watch Natasha Stott Despoja, said she was pleased that the Queensland Government was now a member of Our Watch.

“Our Watch now has commitment from six governments to primary prevention efforts. We are closer to an Australia-wide approach to ending violence against women and their children,” said Ms Stott Despoja.

Read the research summary here.

Media contact:

Hannah Grant, Media and Ambassador Program Manager, Our Watch: Hannah.Grant@ourwatch.org.au or call 0448844930.

*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.

About Our Watch 

Our Watch’s (previously the Foundation to Prevent Violence against Women and their Children) purpose is to raise awareness and engage the community in action to prevent violence against women and their children.
Our Watch was conceived of and brought into existence in 2013 by the Commonwealth of Australia and the State of Victoria. The Northern Territory, South Australian, Tasmanian and Queensland governments have also since become members of the organisation.
Our Watch’s work derives from the government’s commitment to the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010 – 2022 and gives expression to many of the activities in the Second Action Plan 2013–2016 – Moving Ahead.