Last month, VictimFocus released its report ‘I thought it was just a part of life’: Understanding the scale of violence committed against women in the UK since birth. More than 22,000 women in the UK were surveyed in order to collect data about the nature and extent of violence committed against women and girls.
The report found that violence and abuse against women and girls is “a universal experience”, with a whopping 99.7% of women surveyed having been repeatedly subjected to violence, including assaults, harassment and rape. In the vast majority of cases, women were subjected to multiple crimes and perpetrators were overwhelmingly male.
The report noted the trend of victim-blaming within responses to male violence:
Women and girls are assessed and categorised as vulnerable or putting themselves at risk, and professional responses can often include advice to stop doing things, going to places, wearing certain clothing, behaving in certain ways and thinking or feeling certain ways.
Instead of addressing the societal issue of violence against women and girls, male violence, patriarchal norms, gender role stereotypes, lack of prosecution of offenders and several other casual factors, many professionals are instead taught to correct or improve the woman or girl.
We were therefore interested in whether our data would support the idea that only certain groups of women and girls are subjected to violence and abuse. However, our data did not support this theory, instead demonstrating that women and girls from every walk of life have been subjected to violence and abuse in their lives.