The NCAS study found 14 per cent of young men don’t understand that harassment by repeated emails or text messages is domestic violence.

Researchers call for change in young men’s attitudes towards women

May 30, 2019 BY

An alarming number of young Australian men blame women for being raped and having their nude images shared without their permission, a new research study has found.

The National Community Attitudes towards Violence against Women Survey (NCAS) – which was released last Wednesday by Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) and VicHealth – revealed nearly a third of young men aged 16-24 believe many female rape victims led the perpetrator on and then changed her mind.

The research also demonstrated over a quarter of young people think women should be held accountable for sending a nude image to their partner if it’s then shared publicly without consent.

Possessive and stalker-like behaviour was also identified as a problem area among young men, with one in five not understanding that using technology to trace their partner’s movements, such as tapping into her social media accounts
or installing spyware on her phone, is harassment.

Doctor Heather Nancarrow, chief executive officer at ANROWS, said although young people’s understanding of violence against women has drastically improved over the last decade, it is of grave concern that so many still held
disturbing attitudes.

“Our NCAS research shows we have a long way to go in educating young people about the difference between a healthy relationship and abusive behaviour,” Dr Nancarrow said.

“The good news is attitudes can change. We can educate young people to better understand all forms of violence against
women and that controlling behaviour isn’t part of a healthy relationship.”

RMIT researcher Dr Anastasia Powell suggested more needed to be done from an education standpoint to teach young people about sexual violence, respect towards women and the meaning of consent.

“We need to do more to teach young men about what consent looks like.

Swiping right is not consent, kissing is not consent and saying yes to one sexual act doesn’t give blanket consent to everything,” Dr Powell said.

“It’s highly problematic that young men think it’s sometimes OK to force sex on a woman or believe that women want men to persistently pursue them even after they’ve said they’re not interested.

“It’s also disturbing that some young men still resort to victim blaming when it comes to sexual abuse, such as blaming women for being raped, or holding a woman responsible when a nude image is shared without her consent.”

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit In an emergency call 000.