Melbourne, July 15 : Only one in five police officers Down Under believe that a woman should report being raped by her husband, says a new survey.
The study, which shows that crime is often trivialized, found that nuns, ministers, doctors and police often know a woman has been raped by her partner but did nothing.
Each of the 21 victims interviewed for the study said her partner would not consider it rape, despite some suffering drugging and near-suffocation.
Only six of the 30 police interviewed said they would recommend a woman report partner rape, despite 28 calling it a serious crime.
They cited as reasons "the disrespectful and damaging treatment of women in court", difficulty in proving it, and long waits before cases got to court.
Health workers told researchers some police discouraged women from reporting rape.
"There were several accounts of police trying to dissuade women who had gone to them for help from taking action ... and suggesting the complaint was trivial," News.com.au quoted the report, as stating.
The researchers from Women's Health Goulburn North East and Upper Murray Centre Against Sexual Assault interviewed 21 partner rape victims from the Goulburn Valley and northeast Victoria, and scores of police and health professionals.
The study found that the men believed it was their right to do what they liked with their partner and that society often trivialised partner rape, despite it being a crime since 1985.
"One of the women went to her minister in her church, and he said, 'Go home and pray about it'," study co-author Debra Parkinson said.
"There was domestic violence as well and she said, 'What if he kills me?' And the minister said, 'Well, at least you'll go to heaven'," Parkinson added.