Majority of Australian women in their 20s have experienced sexual assault, report

Majority Of Australian Women In Their 20S Have Experienced Sexual Assault, Report
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According to the National Research Organization for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) survey, more than half of Australian women in their 20s report having been the victims of sexual assault. There are concerns that the prevalence of abuse is far greater than previously believed.

The study found, one in three women in their 40s and one in four women between the ages of 68 and 73 have been victims of sexual assault.

The effects of the abuse were found to be widespread, with victims and survivors having a 30 to 45% higher likelihood of experiencing severe financial stress as well as worsening physical and mental health.

Violence against women in their 20s and 40s who had experienced it as children were twice as likely to happen again in adulthood.

Using information from Australia’s Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health, researchers from the University of Newcastle led the report.

The chief executive of ANROWS, Padma Raman, called the findings “startling” and noted that they were far higher than earlier data, but she is concerned that the whole extent of violence against women is yet unknown.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics does a personal safety survey every four years — that has regularly seen it as one in five women experienced sexual violence in the course of their lifetime, which sort of equates to what the older women are telling us [in this study]

“But we know that sexual violence is under-reported, we know that we still haven’t reached that threshold in terms of what people actually understand their experience to be and how they report it,” Ms Raman told the ABC.

Data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicates the similar findings. The number of sexual assaults reported around Australia has risen to an all-time high.

More than 31,000 sexual assault victims were reported in 2021. That represents a 13% increase in one year, making it the only major crime category to do so.

Three out of five assault victims who reported the incident were under the age of 18 at the time.

Experts estimate that 87% of victims of sexual assault never report the crime, thus the actual number is likely far higher.

The increase, according to Tara Hunter, a sexual assault frontline worker from Full Stop Australia, is not solely a result of more women reporting assaults. Ms Hunter told ABC that “It’s not OK to just say, well, reporting assaults are the only reason why these numbers have gone up.”

“The data shows that 37 per cent of these incidents have happened in the home in the context of interpersonal relationships,” she said.

“We know that — similar to the other figures that we know about sexual violence and gender-based violence — it’s generally perpetrated by a male and it’s usually someone that’s known… to the victim survivor.”

Since most women calling her organization’s hotline are under 25, Ms. Hunter is advocating for improved education for young people.

Also Read: Dozens of Horrific Cases of Sexual Harassment and Abuse of Women Workers at Australia’s Mining Firms Reported

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