One in three women experienced violence

published 11 March 2014 updated 12 March 2014

33 % of women living in the European Union have experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15, and one in 20 women was raped since the age of 15. These insights were revealed by an EU-wide survey on violence against women published by the European Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) last Wednesday.

The survey shows the extensive prevalence of physical, sexual and psychological violence against women in the European Union.

Acts of violence against women seem to take place often at home in the form of domestic violence. Out of all women who have stated to have a (current or previous) partner, 22 % have experienced physical and/or sexual partner violence by a partner since the age of 15. Physical violence against women included acts of pushing, slapping, throwing hard objects, pulling of hair, beating, and kicking. The majority of women do not report about violent incidents to the police or any other organisation.

Sexual harassment is an even more widespread experience of women according to the survey. 55% of women have experienced unwelcome touching, hugging or kissing since the age of 15.

Many women became victims of violence already in their childhood: 12 % reported they had experienced some form of sexual abuse before the age of 15, which would correspond to 21 million women in the European Union.

In total, 42,000 women between 18-74 years were interviewed in the course of the study. All participants were selected randomly and were visited in their homes for a face-to-face interview. The participants were interviewed concerning their experience with physical and sexual violence, including incidents of intimate partner violence (‘domestic violence’), sexual harassment, stalking, cyber harassment, and violence in the childhood.