Sixty per cent 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 per cent reported such attacks in the last 12 months and over 40 per cent of those were under the age of 30.
More than 10 per cent of the 5,000 respondents — nine per cent in France, 15 per cent 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 per cent 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 per cent 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 per cent of women affected, especially in Germany where the figure was 56 per cent.
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 per cent of women who were touched inappropriately and 16 per cent 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.
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