Sexual Assault in the USA and the UK: The Appalling Truth

Sexual Assault Report on Violence Against Women

Fifty percent of British women have been sexually or physically abused, according to a shocking new report.

The Violence Against Women report, released Tuesday, March 4, by the European Union’s FRA (Agency for Fundamental Rights), indicates that approximately one of out every two women in the United Kingdom has been subjected to some form of physical or sexual abuse or harassment. Forty-four percent of British women had been a victim of sexual or physical violence by a romantic partner or non-partner after the women turned 15. Sixty-eight percent had suffered sexual harassment since age 15.

These numbers are well above EU averages (33% and 55% respectively). Even so, sexual and physical abuse in Europe is a persistent problem. One in three female residents of the 28 sovereign nations which make up the European Union (a total of 62 million women) has been beaten, shot, stabbed, strangled, or raped. According to the FRA report, 43% of women have been psychologically abused by their partners—locked inside a house, publicly humiliated, forced to view pornographic materials, or subjected to threats of physical violence. Eighteen percent of European women has been stalked via social media, phone, text, or email.

In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) conducted a study between 1995 and 1997 called the Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) Study. The CDC interviewed more than 17,000 American adults and asked them whether they had had any adverse childhood experiences such as neglect or emotional, physical, or sexual abuse. The findings were distressing: more than one in ten women (13%) and 7.6% of men reported emotional abuse in their childhoods; 27% of women and 30% of men reported physical abuse; and almost 25% of women and 16% of men reported sexual abuse.

Physical and sexual abuse—especially sexual abuse—is a highly underreported crime in both the UK and the US. It’s estimated that as much as 90% of all child sex crimes go unreported in the United States—and rates may be even higher in the European Union.

“Physical, sexual and psychological violence against women is an extensive human rights abuse in all EU Member States,” stated the director of the Agency for Fundamental Rights, Morten Kjaerum. “Measures tackling violence against women need to be taken to a new level now.”