Male students at UK universities admit to rape and sexual assault, research reveals

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Oct 30, 2021, 02:06 AM(IST)

Representative image. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The research, which is said to be the first of its kind, comprised two online surveys — the first one of 295 students from 100 UK universities and another of 259 students at a university in south-east England

A recently published study, titled Understanding Sexual Aggression in UK Male University Students, sheds light upon attitudes about rape and sexual harassment among male British students and found that a number of male students at UK universities have admitted to rape, sexual assault, etc. in the last two years. 

The research, which has been published in the SAGE Journals, analyse sexual aggression in UK male university students and talks about the psychological risk factors associated with their pro abuse behaviours.

The research, which is said to be the first of its kind, comprised two online surveys — the first one of 295 students from 100 UK universities and another of 259 students at a university in south-east England. 

As per the first study, that assessed the psychological characteristics of sexually aggressive male students, 33 participants (12.7% of the sample) self-reported having perpetrated 106 sexually aggressive acts over the past 24 months. 

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The age of participants ranged from 18 to 68 years and the majority identified as White British, with the highest educational attainment as A-Level or equivalent. 

As per the second study, 30 participants (10.1% of the sample) self-reported having perpetrated 145 sexually aggressive acts over the past 24 months (though, as noted earlier, this could be a conservative estimate). 

The findings highlight that male university students in the UK with a history of sexual aggression comprise a distinct forensic population, who can be differentiated from their non-offending peers by various psychological indicators associated with their past pro abuse behaviours. 

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 as quoted by The Guardian, "Of the 63 perpetrators who took part in either the first or second study, 37 reported perpetrating unwanted sexual contact, 32 sexual coercion and 30 rape or attempted rape."

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“Some of these offences would've been perpetrated just before they started university, including while they were at school," said Hales, adding that there's a need in UK universities to appoint staff to work with sexually aggressive students who are banned from campus. 

"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."

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