A national survey suggests one in four Australians believe that women falsify or exaggerate claims of rape and domestic violence.
Research for the Changing Cultures, Changing Attitudes report was undertaken by VicHealth for the Federal Government.
VicHealth researcher Melanie Heenan says Australian attitudes about violence against women have changed for the better since the last report card in 1995.
“Today more men and women understand that it includes physical and sexual violence, but that it also includes other forms such as social and emotional abuse, financial abuse,” she said.
But Ms Heenan says some of the findings are disturbing.
“Some of the findings that referred to the extent to which men and women will still excuse violence, especially in situations where the perpetrator later regrets their behaviour or where they suggest the violence occurred out of anger, are still disturbing,” she said.
Ms Heenan says the other concern is that a third of men and women believe men rape because of their uncontrollable sex drive.
“That was one of those attitudes that I thought would have shifted more readily over time,” she said.
“We’ve still got a lot to do in terms of educating young people and others in the community that rape myths like that have no place in a society that says it wants a zero-tolerance level in relation to violence against women.”