Over 10% Of Male Students Admit To Rape Or Sexual Assault In Shocking New Study | TOTUM
Ben HaywardOctober 28th
2021

The first ever survey examining sexual violence by male UK students, has highlighted the shocking extent of the problem on campuses.

Of the 554 male students who took part, 63 - over 11% - reported that they had committed 251 sexual assaults, rapes along with other coercive and unwanted incidents in the past two years, reports the Guardian.

Carried out by researchers at the University of Kent, Understanding Sexual Aggression in UK Male University Students, examined the psychological profiles of sexually violent male students and the rates of offending they themselves reported. 

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The study found a strong link between toxic masculinity and sexual violence, with many of those who reported offending also admitting to misogynistic views, such as believing that women who get drunk are to blame if they get raped, and having sexual fantasies about raping or torturing women, whereas these views and fantasies were not held by participants who did not report sexual misconduct and violence.

The study took its findings from two online surveys - one of 295 students from 100 UK universities and another of 259 students at a university in south-east England - with those who took part asked questions about a series of sexual scenarios, including having sex with someone intoxicated by drugs or alcohol, and their attitudes towards women and romantic relationships.

In the first survey, 30 participants reported they had committed 145 sexually aggressive acts over the past two years, including sexual coercion (most common), followed by rape, attempted rape and unwanted sexual contact.

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In the second survey, 33 men reported 106 sexually aggressive acts, with a third of those declaring they had committed three or more. All of the participants identified as heterosexual but five reported female and male victims, and one a male victim only.

The report’s co-author Samuel Hales, a PhD researcher at the University of Kent’s Centre of Research and Education in 

Forensic Psychology, said: “Perpetrators were significantly more likely to endorse offence-excusing myths associated with rape, eg victims are to blame for being assaulted, and to have more negative sexist and hostile views about women, eg believing that many of their troubles were the fault of women, and to report sexually fantasising more about harmful, such as physically hurting their sexual partner when they didn’t have consent to do so.”

Hales said the findings suggested that UK universities should appoint staff to work with sexually aggressive students who are banned from campus - but later return - to reduce the risk of them re-offending.

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Prof Nicole Westmarland, director of the Durham Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse, said: “The association between rape supportive beliefs, negative attitudes towards women and actually committing acts of violence and abuse is one that has been demonstrated before in research in US universities.

“This study shows the same to be the case in the UK and points to the need for universities to step up their focus on perpetrators while providing victims with the support and action they need following sexual assault.”

Soma Sara, the founder of Everyone’s Invited, a movement set up to tackle rape culture, welcomed the report.

She said: “We have always believed that sexist beliefs, misogyny and toxic masculinity leads to predatory behaviour. The importance of exposing rape culture across society should not be underestimated.

“Sexism is part of a continuum of violence and when any individual is dehumanised they become vulnerable to violence.

“Let’s help men and boys to become well-informed role models who have the courage to be proactive, to call out behaviour and hold their friends accountable.”

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