New Report: International Study Finds Non-partner Sexual Violence Prevalent Worldwide
Thursday, February 13, 2014 10:20 AM

Researchers from the South African Medical Research Council, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the World Health Organization recently released a report on non-partner sexual violence. They found that world-wide, one in every 14 women over the age of 15 has been sexually assaulted by someone other than their intimate partner. The researchers cautioned that these numbers do not capture the full extent of the problem, given that many victims don’t report assaults, fearing shame, rejection or retaliation by families or communities.

Evaluating 56 countries, the researchers found the highest prevalence of non-partner sexual assault in sub-Saharan Africa, where the prevalence rate was 21%. The lowest rates were found in India, Bangladesh and Turkey, varying between 3 percent and 4.5 percent. The U.S. came in at 13 percent. The researchers stressed that such regional variations should be viewed with “extreme caution” because of differences in reporting rates among cultures and a complete lack of data in some countries.

The researchers concluded that non-partner sexual violence is a “pressing health and human rights concern,” one that is “neither rare nor geographically isolated.” The researchers are hopeful that the data contained in their report will drive change in the laws, attitudes and institutions that perpetuate sexual violence against women.

Compiled From: Perry, Susan, Non-partner sexual violence against women is common worldwide, study finds, MINNPOST (February 12, 2014); Study finds sexual violence against women “endemic” in some countries, (February 12, 2014)