While the crimes of "rape- and "incest- have been on the statute books for hundreds of years, it was not until the 1970s that "sexual violence- was more fully explored and developed as a concept. .
Feminists drew attention to the fact that rape (then conceptualised as sexual intercourse without consent) was a crime committed by men against women, not only in dark back-alleys but in homes, workplaces, and in the context of intimate and family relationships (see Brownmiller 1975). .
Feminism responsible for debunking some of the myths about rape.
• women "ask for it- and enjoy rape;.
• children are seductive;.
• only "bad- women are raped;.
• men have uncontrollable sexual urges.
In a recent report of the National Association of Services Against Sexual Violence, sexual violence was defined in the following terms:.
Sexual violence includes a range of violent behaviours. It can include unwanted touching, sexual harassment and intimidation, coerced sexual activity, sexual assault and rape and can include other physical violence and threat to life.
(Dean, Hardiman & Draper 1998, p. iii).
Sexual violence is both a consequence of, and reinforcement of, power disparities between individuals and in society. Attitudes, beliefs, laws and other social structures which allow or support the power of one group over another, or which allow or support violence, contribute to the problem of sexual violence in society.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) periodically conducts Crime and Safety Surveys which provide information on both reported and unreported crimes as well as socioeconomic characteristics of the victims. The most recent survey was conducted in April 1998 with the results published in late 1999 (ABS 1999).