|European women face extensive sex abuse, survey finds
A third of women in Europe have suffered a physical or sexual assault and 5 percent have been raped, a major new study reveals, uncovering “extensive human rights abuse'' throughout the European Union, AFP reports.
In addition, just over one in 10 women indicated that they experienced some form of sexual violence by an adult before they were 15 years old, according to the large-scale survey by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights.
The damning report “shows that physical, sexual and psychological violence against women is an extensive human rights abuse in all EU member states,'' the group's director Morten Kjaerum said.
One in 10 women has experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 15, one in 20 has been raped, and just over one in 5 has experienced physical and/or sexual violence from either a current or previous partner, the report by the Vienna-based FRA said.
The FRA, which interviewed 42,000 women aged 18-74 across the 28-nation bloc for the report, said it was the most comprehensive of its kind to date both in the EU and worldwide.
“What emerges is a picture of extensive abuse that affects many women's lives, but is systematically under-reported to the authorities,'' Kjaerum said.
The FRA investigated women's experiences of physical, sexual and psychological violence including domestic abuse, as well as stalking, sexual harassment, childhood experiences and the role played by new technologies.
“Yet, as an illustration, only 14 percent of women reported their most serious incident of intimate partner violence to the police, and 13 percent reported their most serious incident of non-partner violence to the police,'' Kjaerum said.
The emotional and psychological consequences of physical and sexual violence “can be long-lasting and deep-seated,'' the survey said.
Over a fifth of the victims of sexual violence suffered from panic attacks, over a third became depressed and 43 percent spoke of difficulty in subsequent relationships as a result.