(Screenshot: Pexels)

The hard facts about sexual assaults in Australia

Almost 4000 men were proven guilty of sexual assault offences in Australia, in just one year.Even though more than twice that number faced charges, the latest data by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) paints a worrying picture. It shows that convictions for sexual assault and related charges during 2016-2017, increased by almost 500 on the previous year.

By comparison, 95 women were proven guilty of sex crimes.. representing 44 per cent of all female defendants.

Jackson Katz (Screenshot: TED Talks)

The figures show a big difference. Over 92 per cent of all people accused of sexual assault and other offences were male, which begs the question… why?

To Jackson Katz, American author and educator on issues of masculinity, it’s because men are not taught to see themselves as part of the problem. In a TED talk, Katz said the focus is shifted off men and boys, and onto girls and women.

“We talk about how many women were raped last year, not about how many men raped women. We talk about how many girls in a school district were harassed last year, not how many boys harassed girls.

Adair Donaldson, an ambassador for the Full Stop Foundation and director of Donaldson Law, told ABC News how consent training could contribute significantly to a decrease in sexual assault perpetrated by men. This training is now being rolled out in some of Australia’s universities.

“Consent training is a very serious issue which seems to me to go to the heart of many cultural issues we face,” she said. “Whether it’s at a bar on a campus, it’s all about consent. And more specifically, it’s about the ability to consent.”

Women aged over 18 years who have experienced sexual harassment. (Graph: ABS) 

“Cultural change goes way beyond institutional change,” Donaldson said. “It starts in our homes, in our public spaces, on transport and in our workplaces.” – Shannon Findlay