Most women in their 20s have experienced sexual violence, ‘shocking’ Australian data shows

Minister says domestic and sexual violence against women and children are at ‘epidemic proportions’

The Guardian has published an article highlighting the “shocking” evidence from Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) which shows most women in their 20s have experienced sexual violence.

Sexual violence is defined as “sexual actions without consent, which may include coercion, physical force, rape, sexual assault with implements, being forced to watch or engage in pornography, enforced prostitution or being made to have sex with other people”.

ANROWS used data from the Australian longitudinal study on women’s health (ALSWH) to establish new prevalence rates for women. The ALSWH is an ongoing project collecting sexual violence data, which started in 1996.

The study includes data from more than 57,000 women across several age cohorts. It found 51% of women in their 20s and 34% of women in their 40s had experienced sexual violence in their lifetimes, and 26% of women aged 68 to 73 had experienced sexual violence.

The CEO of Anrows, Padma Raman, said the research emphasised the need to see sexual violence as a health risk and to prevent re-victimisation.

“The evidence is shocking,” she said.