One in every three women in the European Union have admitted to experiencing either physical or sexual violence from the age of 15. The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights says this corresponds to 62 million women. This came to light in the largest survey on the issue which interviewed 42,000 women. Women aged from 15 to 74 were interviewed. The survey is the most ambitious effort to gauge the extent of sexual violence and harassment experienced by the 186.6 million women in 28 EU member nations. The survey found that over 100 million women were subject to sexual harassment. Only one in seven women reported intimate partner violence to police.
Around 10% women reported some form of sexual violence since the age of 15, with one in 20 saying she had been raped. That would be more than 9 million rape victims. Around 75 % of women working in a professional capacity or in top management jobs have experienced sexual harassment in their lifetime and one in four of these women have been confronted with sexual harassment in the 12 months prior to the survey. Morten Kjaerum, director of the Agency for Fundamental Rights said, “What emerges is a picture of extensive abuse that affects many women’s lives but is systematically under-reported to the authorities.
” Some 27 % of women have experienced some form of physical abuse in childhood (before the age of 15) at the hands of an adult. Over one in 10 women (12 %) has experienced some form of sexual abuse or incident by an adult before the age of 15. These forms of abuse typically involve an adult exposing their genitals (8%) or touching the child’s genitals or breasts (5%). At the extreme, 1% of women indicate that they were forced to have sexual intercourse with an adult when they were a child. In 97% of cases of sexual violence in childhood, the perpetrator was male whereas in cases of physical violence slightly more cases were attributed to men than to women.
Other shocking statistics said that an estimated 13 million women in the EU have expe-rienced physical violence in the course of 12 months before the survey interviews. An estimated 3.7 million women in the EU have experienced sexual violence in the course of 12 months before the survey interviews. The report calls on EU countries to treat domestic violence as a public and not a private issue. It says laws and policies relating to sexual harassment should be reviewed. The survey noted that 22% had suffered from physical or sexual violence by a partner but that 67% did not report the most serious incidents of domestic violence to the police.