Community beliefs and misconceptions about male sexual assault

Assault and battery Sex differences Crime Australia

Misconceptions about male sexual assault have a substantial impact on under-reporting. This resource sheet identifies research and data that dispel four of these misconceptions.

Abstract: In recent years there has been an increase in community awareness of male sexual assault. However, there are a number of beliefs, misconceptions and assumptions about men, masculinity, sexuality and sexual assault that present barriers to male victim/survivors disclosing their experiences, gaining recognition, receiving support and accessing criminal justice. While some of these assumptions intersect with some of those associated with female sexual assault, others are distinctly different and have different implications for the male victim/survivor. For example, although the 2005 Analysis of Police Investigations into Sexual Assault showed higher levels of community belief in reports of male sexual assault and lower rates of complaint withdrawal with a slightly higher proportional rate of charges being laid (in comparison to female reports of sexual assault), recent data shows that the rate of actual reporting to the police is dramatically lower in males than in females. Of the sexual assaults reported to police in 2006, only 27% were perpetrated against men. The literature suggests that the misconceptions about male sexual assault have a substantial impact on under-reporting.

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