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Despite push for gender equality - Nordic countries the worst in violence against women

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
3/11/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A startling one in three women in the European Union report being abused

The European continent has been known for its promotion of social programs and strides made in regards to gender equality. However, according to a new report, an astonishing one in three women in the E.U. has reported some form of abuse. Nordic countries, renowned for being forward-thinking, report the very worst in violence against women, according to a new survey.

The statistics for the famously liberal Nordic countries surprised many. One possible explanation for the difference in results is that women may be less likely to feel stigma talking about incidents of violence in countries with a better record of gender equality.

The statistics for the famously liberal Nordic countries surprised many. One possible explanation for the difference in results is that women may be less likely to feel stigma talking about incidents of violence in countries with a better record of gender equality.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
3/11/2014 (3 years ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: European Union, sexual harassment, violence against women


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic online) - In the study, more than 42,000 women in the E.U.'s 28 countries were questioned about a range of experiences - from being pushed, shoved, slapped, cut, beaten and burned to being raped, harassed in the workplace, prevented from leaving the house and stalked.

Fifty-two percent of Danish women interviewed said they had experienced physical and/or sexual violence at least once since the age of 15. Finnish women reported at least 47 percent and 46 percent of Swedish women both reported similar experiences, according to the poll by the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency.

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In stark contrast, only 19 percent of Polish women reported being physically and/or sexually assaulted, followed by 20 percent of Austrian women and 21 percent of Croatian women.

Violence against women across all E.U. states is widespread, affecting women from all walks of life and socio-economic brackets, the survey's authors said.

"Currently a lot of the focus at the E.U. political level is on things like female genital mutilation, forced marriages and trafficking in women and girls for sexual exploitation," FRA head of research Joanna Goodey says.

"Our survey results show that the general population of women in the EU is experiencing very high levels of violence - and the numbers are huge. We're talking about half the population, not only about specific groups in the population who are particularly vulnerable to certain types of abuse."

Based in Vienna, the agency collects data comparing how E.U. members perform in protecting human rights. An estimated 13 million women in the E.U. - more than the total population of Belgium or Greece - had experienced some form of physical violence in the 12 months before they were interviewed.

Some 3.7 million women had experienced sexual violence in the same period.

Only a third of women who had suffered abuse at the hands of a partner reported it to police or a victim support organization.

"If this were happening outside the European Union and these figures were, say, for another continent or another part of the world, we'd feel (expect) E.U. leaders would say 'this is a call for action, this is unacceptable,'" Goodey said.

"The EU and member states need to wake up and say this is about equality between men and women and we really need to address this at multiple levels."

The statistics for the famously liberal Nordic countries surprised many.

One possible explanation for the difference in results is that women may be less likely to feel stigma talking about incidents of violence in countries with a better record of gender equality.

Women are also more likely to go out to work, socialize and date in countries where they enjoy greater equality - putting them at potential risk of sexual harassment in the workplace.

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