Europe, Globe

Violence against women and machismo: an undeniable reality in Europe

One in three women in the European Union (EU) has suffered physical or sexual assault, and more than 3,000 are killed by their partner or family members each year. This equates to around seven women killed daily in the region.


Glenda Arcia


According to the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), which has brought such statistics to light, this is happening despite the mass marches and numerous campaigns aimed at preventing these cases from being hidden or ignored.

Despite the demands of the crowds, home continues to be an unsafe place for women; a place where they face the very types of assault being denounced in the streets.

According to a report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), globally, an average of 140 women die each day as a result of attacks from their own partner or blood relatives.

In total, 87,000 femicides were recorded worldwide in 2017, 58% of which were at the hands of the victim’s close circle.

Although the largest number of cases of this type were recorded in Asia (20,000) and Africa (19,000), the figures are also alarming in Europe (3,000), where many organisations lament the silence of victims and the press, and criticise the lack of effective governmental action.

According to an FRA report, one in every five women is physically or sexually assaulted by her current or former partner, and one in every ten suffers from bullying via social media and the internet.

This translates as millions of terrified and violated citizens, only 14% of whom go to the authorities. Consequently, the reality of these incidents usually far outweighs the number of reports.

According to experts, this scarce reporting of attacks is due to the psychological trauma suffered, the fear it could happen again, and exposure to a judicial process which is often lengthy and painful.

The lack of accurate data impedes the fight against this phenomenon, and means that many aggressors remain unpunished.

Moreover, 68% of human trafficking victims in the region are female, and around 180,000 girls and women are at risk of being subjected to female genital mutilation each year in the EU-28.

To all of the above, we can add other types of violence, such as discrimination, exclusion and the gender pay gap.

A recent report by the European Commission indicates that the rate of unemployment for women in the EU is 11.5% greater than for men, and that women’s pay is 16% less than their male counterparts in the same jobs.

In countries such as Austria, Germany, Estonia, the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic the pay gap can be over 20 percentage points.

Furthermore, female employees very rarely reach senior positions; only 6.3% of executive directors in the region’s main businesses are women.

Moreover, when they finish their working day, women spend many hours taking care of the house and the children, often without their partner’s help.

According to the study, women make up just 33% of members of local parliaments, where they face bullying and exclusion.

In the EU, 85% of MPs have fallen victim to psychological violence and, in the majority of cases, complaints mechanisms do not exist.

According to a report by the European Anti-Poverty Network, “gender inequality continues to be high in the region, and compared to the situation 10 years ago, there have been few advances.” (PL)

(Translated by Rebecca Ndhlovu – Email: – Photo: Pixabay

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