Paris, October 12: Sixty percent of women in Europe have suffered gender-based or sexual violence at work, according to a study across five countries published on Saturday. French research group Ifop found 21 percent reported such attacks in the last 12 months and over 40 percent of those were under the age of 30. Memory of Sexual Violence Haunts Women for Decades: Study.
More than 10 percent of the 5,000 respondents -- nine percent in France, 15 percent in Spain -- said they had "forced of unwanted" sex from someone in their workplace. The study authors said that figure "highlights the grey area that may exist around consent" when it can "be extorted in a context of subordination, intimidation or manipulation".
Additionally, nine percent of women said they were at least once "pressured" by a colleague to commit an "act of a sexual nature", such as sex in exchange for a job or promotion. While some 18 percent said they were touched inappropriately, such as a hand on the bottom, a forced hug or an unwanted kiss.
The study was conducted in France, Germany, Italy, Britain and Spain. It also said sexual violence, which includes whistling, gestures, rude comments or leering, was the most common attack with 46 percent of women affected, especially in Germany where the figure was 56 percent.
The authors of the report said "a very small minority of victims of workplace harassment manage to break the wall of silence" and speak out. Only 13 percent of women who were touched inappropriately and 16 percent of those who were pressured into a sexual relationship said they had spoken to someone, such as a superior or trade unionist, to solve the problem internally.
The Ifop survey was conducted with an online questionnaire in April this year for the Fondation Jean Jaures think tank and the European Foundation for Progressive Studies (FEPS).