1 In 9 College Men Admit To Committing Sexual Assault: Survey Finds

A survey revealed sexual violence committed by male students in the UK. The study revealed shocking statistics with 63 out of 554 male participants admitting to a total of 251 sexual assaults, rapes and other such incidents within the past 2 years.

Ishika Thanvi
New Update

Representative File Image

A groundbreaking survey conducted by the University of Kent has shed light on the pervasive issue of sexual violence among male students in the UK. The study, titled Understanding Sexual Aggression in UK Male University Students, revealed shocking statistics with 63 out of 554 male participants admitting to a total of 251 sexual assaults, rapes, and other such incidents within the past two years.


The research not only studied the self-reported rates of offending but also examined the psychological profiles of sexually violent male students. A disturbing connection emerged, highlighting a strong association between toxic masculinity and sexual violence. Those who confessed to committing offences also admitted to holding misogynistic views, such as blaming intoxicated women for their assault and harbouring sadistic sexual fantasies.

Survey Methodology and Key Findings

The study encompassed two online surveys involving 554 male students from various UK universities. Detailed questions were posed regarding a range of sexual scenarios and participants' attitudes towards women and romantic relationships.

In the first survey, 30 participants disclosed 145 sexually aggressive acts, with sexual coercion being the most common, followed by rape and attempted rape. The second survey included 33 men reporting 106 sexually aggressive acts, with a concerning one-third admitting to three or more offences. Notably, all participants identified as heterosexual, yet some reported both male and female victims.

Urgent Need for Intervention

Co-author Samuel Hales, a PhD researcher at the University of Kent’s Centre of Research and Education in Forensic Psychology, emphasized the importance of addressing the issue immediately. He suggested that UK universities should appoint dedicated staff to work with sexually aggressive students, particularly those who are banned from campus but later return, to reduce the risk of re-offending.


The Call for University Action

Professor Nicole Westmarland, director of the Durham Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse, stressed the need for universities to focus on perpetrators. She underlined the significance of addressing rape-supportive beliefs and negative attitudes towards women while simultaneously providing necessary support and action for victims of sexual assault.

Soma Sara, the founder of Everyone’s Invited, emphatically stated, "We have always believed that sexist beliefs, misogyny, and toxic masculinity lead to predatory behaviour." This assertion draws attention to the intrinsic connection between deeply ingrained societal attitudes and the manifestation of predatory actions. Sara highlights the critical importance of exposing rape culture on a societal level, emphasizing that understanding and addressing the root causes are paramount. She further illuminates the insidious nature of sexism, stating, "Sexism is part of a continuum of violence, and when any individual is dehumanized, they become vulnerable to violence." This reflects the ripple effect of discriminatory beliefs, highlighting the increased susceptibility to various forms of harm when dehumanization is allowed to persist.

Sara concludes with a call to action, advocating for proactive efforts to reshape societal norms, saying, "Let’s help men and boys to become well-informed role models who dare to be proactive, to call out behaviour and hold their friends accountable." 

Confronting The Roots Of Rape Culture

This survey highlights the roots of rape culture, demonstrating that it often originates from ingrained misogyny and sexist beliefs about women. It serves as a stark reminder that there is never a scenario in which such behaviours and attitudes should be justified. Often, people underestimate how seemingly 'harmless' jokes or comments can swiftly evolve into toxic thinking patterns, perpetuating a dangerous cycle that contributes to a culture of sexual violence. It highlights the urgent need for society to address these attitudes at their core to dismantle the foundations of rape culture.

Views expressed are the author's own.

Sexual assault Rape culture university of kent