WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — A recent study that examined data collected from all over the globe has found that one out of every 14 women has been sexually assaulted by someone other than her partner.
A reported 77 studies on the matter were examined by the team involved in the study, which found that 7.2 percent of women at or above the age of 15 have been sexually assaulted at least once by a person with whom they were not intimately involved.
“Our findings indicate a pressing health and human rights concern,” investigators were quoted as saying by AFP.
The problem was especially significant in sub-Saharan Africa, researchers noted, particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo where 21 percent testified to sexual assaults against them. Other parts of Africa, as well as Australia and New Zealand, also had high rates of sexual assaults.
“We found that sexual violence is a common experience for women worldwide and in some regions is endemic, reaching more than 15 percent in four regions,” lead investigator Naeemah Abrahams, of the South African Medical Research Council in Cape Town, said.
According to statistics from the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network in Washington, D.C., 237,868 sexual assaults happen each year in the United States, amounting to a sexual assault every 2 minutes somewhere in the country.
Though researchers acknowledged gaps in the data – especially in regards to facts and figures from South Asia, the Middle East and certain other areas of the world – they feel it is still indicative of a far-reaching issue in need of international attention.
“A prevalence of 7.2 percent is a big enough problem for any country to be concerned about the experiences of their female citizens,” Abrahams noted to AFP.
The study was published in the journal Lancet.