Source: The Herald Sun, 22 April, 1997, p.5
By NICOLE LLOYD NEARLY one-third of young men believe it is acceptable to "force" a female to have sex, research suggests. The disturbing snapshot into youth sexual culture is contained in a survey of 1000 young men aged between 15 to 25, done by Family Planning SA. It found 31 per cent of young men agreed it was "OK for a male to force a female to have sex" in one or more of a range of situations. And Family Planning has identified cultures which put a high priority on "scoring" to prove your manhood and myths that "men know when women want to have sex" as factors in the results. In the wake of the results Family Planning has developed "rape myth-buster" fact sheets suitable for secondary schools and youth agencies. The most common situations that young men agreed were acceptable to force a woman to have sex included: SHE has had sex with him before. SHE has allowed him to touch her body. THEY have been going out together for a long time. Other reasons included, "she is stoned or drunk", "she has had sexual intercourse with other men", "she starts to be sexual with him but than says no". Family Planning's project officer Brook Friedman said the findings were alarming. "Dangerous ideas and beliefs about date rape and relationship violence are alive inside young people's cultures," he said. "It's no wonder there is such a demand for services that help women overcome the effects of rape. "Rape is about violence not sex. If a person hits you with a spade you wouldn't call it gardening." Mr Friedman is co-ordinating Family Planning's Guys Talk Too project which oversaw the survey. The survey involved a project team of young male educators who interviewed and ran workshops for young men at schools, youth events and youth refuges across Adelaide. The project is aimed at improving young men's sexual health and stopping relationship violence. Mr Friedman said the results suggested nearly one-third of young men thought using force in sex was acceptable and was not rape. "They are influenced by ideas of sex where a man is supposed to be in control and a woman wants to please him," he said. "Whilst men think of sex as their right, women will continue to be forced to have sex by young men who are doing what they believe they are supposed to be doing." And while the results did not "necessarily mean young men will carry out these actions, nearly one-third of the young men interviewed hold these beliefs". Mr Friedman said the findings provided a chilling insight into figures which show more than 80 per cent of women and girls who are raped know their attacker. "These are most often fathers stepfathers, boyfriends, male friends, male family friends and male relatives," he said.
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