Women face stigma when reporting sexual offences, academic tells LBC

29 April 2021, 16:32 | Updated: 29 April 2021, 16:37

By Sam Sholli

There's a stigma attached to reporting sexual assault for women that isn't there when they report being punched, an academic has told LBC.

Dr Jessica Taylor spoke LBC's Shelagh Fogarty having co-authored a study with Jaimi Shrive concerning the subject of sexual offences.

The research saw more than 22,000 women surveyed earlier this year, and found that 51% of respondents said they had "woken up to their male partner having sex with them or performing sex acts on them whilst they are asleep".

In addition, the study found that out of the women surveyed, 99.7% had been repeatedly subjected to violence including assaults, harassment and rape.

However, what it also showed was that not even 2 in 10 would report physical crimes to the police.

Meanwhile, the study also found that less than 1 in 10 had reported sexual crimes to the police.

Asked by Shelagh about recommendations of the report when it comes to police responding to sexual offences, Dr Taylor replied: "In terms of police response and reporting, what was interesting was that when a woman or girl is subject to a physical act of violence, she's more likely to report that to the police."

"So when it comes to physical acts around 20% of women and girls do report. When it goes to sexual offences [the number] drops considerably to about between 9% and 11%.

"And that's really interesting because it must mean at some level that there is a belief that the police will take you seriously if you say 'hi, I want to report that I've been punched in the face' rather than 'hi, I want to report that my partner has raped me last night', because there's the stigma around it.

"There's a shame that isn't there with being for example punched or spat at in the street that there might be with sexual assault."