When it comes to violence against women, victim-blaming attitudes seem more common in Eastern Europe than in other areas of the European Union, a survey published by the European Commission on the occasion of International Women’s Day indicates.
Building on a mapping exercise of studies on attitudes towards violence, the Commission carried out a Eurobarometer survey on gender-based violence in 2016. This EU public opinion survey showed that almost all Europeans, or 96 percent, think that domestic violence against women is unacceptable.
However, the survey shows the continued existence of victim-blaming views. For example, more than one in five respondents across the EU, or 22 percent, agree that women often make up or exaggerate claims of abuse or rape, and almost one in five, or 17 percent, agree that violence against women is often provoked by the victim, although once again this figure masks a wide variation between countries, with victim-blaming attitudes appearing to be more common in Eastern Europe.
Where in the EU on average 22 percent of respondents found that women often make up or exaggerate claims of abuse or rape, the same was believed by 31 percent of respondents in Estonia. The percentage of such answers was higher still in Malta, at 47 percent, Cyprus, at 44 percent, Lithuania, at 42 percent, and Latvia, at 39 percent. The ratio was higher than the EU average also in the UK, Luxembourg, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovakia.
The lowest percentage of such answers was registered in Sweden with 8 percent, in France with 13 percent, Italy with 13 percent, the Netherlands with 16 percent, and Finland with 17 percent.
A similar pattern showed in answers to the question whether the respondent agreed that violence against women was often provoked by the victim. Where in the EU on average this was seen as true by 17 percent of respondents, the ratio of such responses was 57 percent in Latvia, 45 percent in Lithuania, 40 percent in Malta, and 38 percent in Estonia.
Next after Estonia came Slovakia with 34 percent, Cyprus with 31 percent, Poland with 28 percent, and the Czech Republic and Romania with 26 percent each. The ratios of such answers were lowest in the Netherlands at 6 percent, Sweden at 9 percent, Spain at 10 percent, and Italy and Portugal, both of which at 11 percent.
In November 2016, on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Commission initiated focused action to further its commitment to eradicating all forms of violence against women and girls, and to reducing gender inequality. The 2017 Report on equality between women and men in the EU was published on Wednesday, Mar. 8.
Editor: Dario Cavegn