21st Mar 2018

Europeans still blaming women for rape

  • Commissioner Jourova kicks off a new campaign to raise awareness on violence against women (Photo: European Commission)

One in four Europeans think rape can be justified in certain circumstances, while one in five say violence against women is often provoked by the victim, according to EU research.

The survey, by the EU's statistics office, was published on Thursday (24 November), ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on Friday.

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It also says that one in three women in the EU have experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15.

It says there is a perception in Europe that the victim can be to blame for sexual violence. It also shows that attitudes to sexual consent vary widely among member states.

More than one in four (27 percent) Europeans said sexual intercourse without consent could be justifiable if the victim was under the influence of alcohol or drugs or if the victim was wearing revealing clothing.

More than one in five (22 percent) said women often made up or exaggerated claims of abuse or rape.

The view is widespread in Malta, Cyprus and Lithuania, but, by contrast, just 8 percent of Swedish people said so.

People in Romania and Hungary were also more dismissive of women’s claims than in respondents in Sweden.

The EU study said a lot of abuse was not reported.

Just 12 percent of victims spoke to the police, even if they had reported what happened to family members or friends.

The vast majority of respondents (96 percent) said domestic violence against women was unacceptable, although 12 percent did not think it should always be punished by law.

In a joint statment by nine commissioners, the EU pledged to do more to raise awareness on the issues.

"Together we must challenge ... stereotypes that undermine women's voices and show that violence against women is unacceptable and will not be tolerated by anyone," the statement said.

Justice commissioner Vera Jourova said on Thusday that €10 million would be given to local NGOs to help prevent gender violence and to support victims.

She said that the European Commission would monitor implementation of an EU "victim's rights" law that was adopted last November and that sets out minimum rights for victims of crime.

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