More than 60 million women across the EU have experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15, according to a report made public on Wednesday.
The report by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) presents results from the world's biggest-ever survey on violence against women.
It is a harrowing tale of abuse suffered by women at home, work, in public and online. As well as demonstrating the wide prevalence of violence against adult women, the report also details incidents of physical and sexual violence experienced by women in childhood.
It shows that policy makers need to recognise the extent of violence against women, and ensure that responses meet the needs and rights of all victims of violence against women in practice and not just on paper. "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.
"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. Therefore, policy makers, civil society and frontline workers need to review measures to tackle all forms of violence against women no matter where it takes place. Measures tackling violence against women need to be taken to a new level now."
The survey asked women about their experiences of physical, sexual and psychological violence, including domestic violence. Questions were also asked about incidents of stalking, sexual harassment, and the role played by new technologies in women's experiences of abuse. In addition, the survey asked about respondents' experiences of violence in childhood.
Drawing on the survey responses, some of the key findings show that:
- 33% of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15. That corresponds to 62 million women.
- 22% have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by a partner.
- 5% of all women have been raped. Almost one in 10 women who have experienced sexual violence by a non-partner, indicate that more than one perpetrator was involved in the most serious incident.
- 43% have experienced some form of psychological violence by either a current or a previous partner, such as public humiliation; forbidding a woman to leave the house or locking her up; forcing her to watch pornography; and threats of violence.
- 33% have childhood experiences of physical or sexual violence at the hands of an adult. 12% had childhood experiences of sexual violence, of which half were from men they did not know. These forms of abuse typically involve an adult exposing their genitals or touching the child's genitals or breasts.
- 18% of women have experienced stalking since the age of 15 and 5% in the 12 months prior to the interview. This corresponds to 9 million women. 21% of women who have experienced stalking said that it lasted for over 2 years.
- 11% of women have experienced inappropriate advances on social websites or have been subjected to sexually explicit emails or text (SMS) messages. 20% of young women (18-29) have been victims of such cyberharassment.
- 55% of women have experienced some form of sexual harassment. 32% of all victims of sexual harassment said the perpetrator was a boss, colleague or customer.
- 67% did not report the most serious incident of partner violence to the police or any other organisation.
HOW CYPRUS COMPARES
One in five women in Cyprus (22%) said they have experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15. The EU average was a higher 33%.
One in 10 (11%) have experienced physical violence by a non-partner since the age of 15 (EU average 20%), while 14% have experienced violence from a partner (EU average 20).
As regards sexual violence by a non-partner, the answers were 2% (Cyprus) and 6% (EU) while for sexual violence by a partner figures stood at 4% (Cyprus) and 7% (EU) . The survey shows 39% of Cypriot women – four in 10 – have experienced some form of psychological violence by a partner (EU average 43%).