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One in three women experience violence

The Local · 5 Mar 2014, 15:20

Published: 05 Mar 2014 15:20 GMT+01:00

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The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) released the world's biggest study into violence against women on Wednesday.

It showed that 33 percent of women in Europe had experienced some form of violence since the age of 15. Ninety-seven percent of perpetrators were men.

At least five percent of women have been raped, according to the survey while 55 percent have experienced sexual harassment. Of these 32 percent of victims said this was from their boss, colleague or customer.

In Germany, the general figure for having experienced physical or sexual violence over the age of 15 stood at 35 percent – just over the EU average.

Countries with a higher percentage were Denmark with 52 percent, Finland with 47 percent and Sweden with 46 percent.

“These survey figures simply cannot and should not be ignored. FRA’s survey shows that physical, sexual and psychological violence against women is an extensive human rights abuse in all EU Member States,” said FRA Director Morten Kjaerum in a statement.

“The enormity of the problem is proof that violence against women does not just impact a few women only – it impacts on society every day,” he added.

Childhood physical assault was reported by 37 percent of Germans – 10 percent over the average. Another 13 percent said they suffered sexual abuse – matching the EU average.

Despite a third of women admitting to experiencing assault of some sort, just 19 percent of Germans asked thought it was a common occurrence.

Fifty-three percent said they thought it happened sometimes, while a quarter said they thought it was unusual. On average, 27 percent of EU women were aware that violence was widespread.

Across Europe, 22 percent of women had suffered physical or sexual violence from their partner. Of these, 55 percent were sexually assaulted – of which three out of four held management position jobs.

Just 23 percent of women in Germany had seen or heard of a campaign against violence against women. This put the country right at the bottom of the list – only in Austria was this number lower.

Only two percent said they were often worried about being assaulted, which was also put Germany right at the bottom of EU countries.

Nearly 40 percent of German women said they had experienced unwanted touching or kissing – higher than the EU average of 29 percent.

Cyber harassment for Germans was also above average, with 13 percent citing it compared with 11 percent overall.

Psychological abuse seemed also to have affected the majority of German women. Fifty-nine percent said they had been bullied, belittled or threatened at least once since turning 15. Only in Denmark and Lithuania was this a bigger problem.

Stalking was also a part of life for many women in Germany with 29 percent reporting it – only women in France, Benelux, Denmark and Finland suffered from this more often.

The FRA interviewed 42,000 women for the study across 28 EU countries for the report.

SEE ALSO: Sexual assaults double at Munich's Oktoberfest

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