Women are more likely to suffer abuse than men, but the numbers of men being sexually victimised is on the rise, a controversial new study has found.
The research found that among men who report sexual abuse, 68.6 per cent nominated a woman as the perpetrator, The Atlantic reports.
Furthermore, 1 out of every 10 rape victims is male, according to the report.
The research comes after a previous US study (by the National Crime Victimisation Survey in America) found that some 38 per cent of victims who reported sexual abuse were men. Previous studies had placed the number closer to 5 per cent, and later 14 per cent, Slate reports.
But 38 per cent? That was an unprecedented jump in male victims, and one that gave researcher Laura Stemple reason to pause. She launched a new study that would serve as a partner paper to the National Crime Victimisation Survey, examining the gendered ways we look at sexual abuse and whether we need to “completely rethink our assumptions about sexual victimization,” as Stemple put it at the time.
Stemple argues that these statistics uncover a hidden epidemic of female sexual predators that have until now been woefully under-examined.
She found that when female abusers are reported to the authorities, their cases remain under-investigated compared to male perpetrators. It all comes down to the assumption that men are more dangerous than women, the research found. (In the US, less than 3 per cent of those found on sex offender registries are women, Broadly reports).
Stemple and her team have advised that more investigation is needed in this under-researched field.
Meanwhile, at The Atlantic, a story about the research findings has spurred male readers to contact the publication with their own stories of abuse by women.