Almost five million Spanish women have been abused by their partners or ex-partners

A European macro-survey has just brought to light the enormous dimensions of a social plague that is still silenced today by the burden of decades of sexist culture. Almost five million Spanish women confess with the sincerity that confidentiality facilitates that at some point in their lives they have been mistreated or attacked by their current partner or by one of the previous ones.

The research, coordinated by Eurostat, the first that aims to x-ray the incidence and characteristics of sexist attacks in the 27 countries of the EU, concludes that 28.7% of Spanish women, three out of ten, are or have been victims of gender violence.

Questions to a representative sample of 6,465 compatriots between 16 and 74 years old bring to the surface the historical dimension of the problem, but also the present one. Up to 735,400 Spaniards, 4.4% of those registered, claim that the psychological, physical or sexual attacks inflicted on them by their romantic partners occurred in the last year.

First come humiliation and insults, jealousy, control of your life and relationships, isolation or financial suffocation. More than 4.5 million, 27.8%, have suffered this psychological violence. But half, more than two million, also know what serious threats are, kicks, slaps and punches, and even stabbing, burning or strangling.

More than 233,000 girls have been sexually assaulted in Spain when they were under 15 years old, mainly by family members and acquaintances.

Without a doubt one of the most shocking data of the work, which has had the collaboration of the INE and the Ministry of Equality, is the quantification of women sexually assaulted by their own boyfriends or husbands. Perhaps the most silenced aspect of gender violence, due to the low perception of this type of aggression that exists among the victims themselves. Almost one million, 986,201 Spaniards, admitted suffering acts of sexual violence that the Penal Code describes as rape. Non-consensual sex due to fear, threats, blackmail or force, under the influence of alcohol or drugs or with unwanted activities experienced as humiliating.

The general incidence of this scourge is very high, but it is even higher among some specific groups and groups.

An example is age. The Spaniards who by far suffer the most from gender violence are young women. Four out of ten girls between 18 and 29 years old, 38.4%, confess to being victims of their partners or ex-partners. The least affected are supposed to be retired women, aged 65 to 74, with 19%. But all experts believe that it is quite the opposite, but that they are the ones who least perceive or most normalize this evil due to their sexist upbringing and great vulnerability.

Other groups especially punished by the scourge are women with disabilities (half victims of abuse) and rural women, with addictions or foreigners, with six points higher incidence of gender violence than the average.

A silenced scourge

What the survey also certifies is that we are facing a hidden drama. Only 24% of Spanish victims go to the police and just over 16% ask for help from specialized services. Ignorance, lack of institutional trust, economic dependence or fear of the aggressor’s reaction explains the silence of two out of three.

The macro survey is not limited to sexist violence in couples. Ask about the rest of the humiliations and attacks that women suffer for the simple fact of being women. One in five Spaniards, just over three and a half million, claims to have suffered at some point in their life from sexual or domestic violence outside their partner, repeated workplace harassment, violence in childhood or sexual harassment. The degree of opacity of humiliation or aggression is even greater than between boyfriends and married couples. Only 9% of cases are reported and not even 4% of victims ask for specialized help to get out of hell.

Sexual violence against young people or adults other than husbands or partners reaches 13.7% of Spanish women, the vast majority being all kinds of unwanted touching. Those who consider themselves victims of rape, however, are close to half a million. Their aggressors, 77% of the time, are someone in the family or a close friend.

The European survey also seeks to break the cloak of silence that hides the enormous volume of sexual violence against children in the EU. 6.8% of Spanish women, just over 1.2 million, acknowledge having suffered attacks on their sexual freedom when they were under 15 years old, the majority between 6 and 14 years old. On a good part of the occasions they were forced touching or poses without clothes, but 233,900 of these women, 1.3% of Spanish women, were raped in adolescence, 92% by a family member or an acquaintance.

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