VIENNA: One in three EU women has suffered a physical and/or sexual assault since the age of 15, a major new study revealing “extensive” and “systematically under-reported” violence showed on Wednesday.
The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (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,” FRA director Morten Kjaerum said.
The FRA probed 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.
One in 10 women has experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 15, one in 20 has been raped while just over one in five has experienced physical and/or sexual violence from either a current or previous partner, it revealed.
In addition, just over one in 10 women indicated that they have experienced some form of sexual violence by an adult before they were 15 years old, the Vienna-based FRA said.
“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.
He said that “violence against women, and specifically gender-based violence that disproportionately affects women, is an extensive human rights abuse that the EU cannot afford to overlook.”