Majority of European women sexually abused: Report

London, March 5: Women in Europe are no better than their counterparts in other parts of the world with more than half of the female population admitting to some form of sexual harassment, finds European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) in its latest report based on a survey on violence against women across the EU member states.

The survey found an alarming 55 percent women having undergone some form of sexual harassment, with 32 percent of all victims of sexual harassment saying the perpetrator was either a boss, colleague or customer.

Again, nearly one-third of the fairer sex respondents reported to physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15. Numerically put, this corresponds to a considerable 62 million women.

Such alarming findings in the survey mean 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, the report stated.

“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.

A serious situation also persists among young women of the 18-29 years age group with 20 percent of them having faced cyber harassment.

Kjaerum urged policy makers, civil society and frontline workers to review measures to tackle all forms of violence against women no matter where it takes place.

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

EU member states should ratify the Council of Europe’s convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, also known as the Istanbul Convention, the report suggested.

The survey on which the report is based makes clear that a wide variety of groups need to take action to combat violence against women, including employers, health professionals and internet service providers.

It is based on interviews with 42,000 women across the EU, who were asked about their experiences of physical, sexual and psychological violence, including incidents of domestic violence.