More than half of women 'have been sexually assaulted by a partner in their sleep'

Connor Parker
·3-min read
Almost all women said they had experienced some form of harassment or violence towards them. (Getty)
Almost all women said they had experienced some form of harassment or violence towards them. (Getty)

Over half of women have been sexually assaulted by a partner in their sleep and 99.7% have been repeatedly subjected to some form of violence including assault, harassment and rape, a study has found.

VictimFocus said its study found only 0.3% of women reported never being subjected to a violent incident.

The study found 51% of women have woken up to their male partner having sex with them or performing sex acts on them whilst they are asleep and 27% have been subjected to this more than three times.

The figure was revealed in the new report and laid bare the devastating extent of sexual violence suffered by women in the UK.

Over 90% of women said they had been catcalled at least once. (Getty)
Over 90% of women said they had been catcalled at least once. (Stock image, Getty)

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The study asked over 22,000 women about violent acts committed against them.

In total, 22,419 women reported that they had collectively been subjected to at least 808,607 acts of violence including 216,965 physical assaults and 363,964 sexual assaults.

They also found just under half of the women were subjected to some form of violence in their childhoods.

This meant on average the participants were all subjected to at least 37 acts of violence each in their lives since birth.

The report into the scale of violence committed against women also found

  • 88% have been sexually harassed by someone.

  • 56% have been kissed by someone without consent (forced or coerced).

  • 87% have been sexually touched by someone without consent.

  • 45% were forced to engage in a sex act they did not consent to.

  • 17% had nude photos or videos of them that they did not know had been taken shared without their consent.

  • 55% have been coerced into penetrative sex they did not consent to.

  • 27% have been physically forced or threatened with violence to have sex they did not consent to.

  • 38% have been forced to have sex whilst very drunk or high when they could not consent.

  • 16% have been forced or coerced to perform sex acts someone saw in porn.

  • 43% have had someone perform a sex act on them that they didn’t consent to.

Despite all of these findings, 92% of women did not report physical or sexual violence crimes committed against them when they were a child to the police and 98% did not report any harassment.

The figures were only slightly better for those who reported crimes committed against them when they were an adult.

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For women over the age of 18, the most common perpetrators of violence against women were male partners and ex-partners, followed by male strangers and male friends.

In childhood, the most common perpetrators of violence against girls were fathers, boyfriends, other male family members.

The findings come amid increased scrutiny of dealing with violence and harassment against women in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard.

Everard went missing on 3 March this year and her remains were found a week later.

Her sudden disappearance sparked a wave of stories from women about how they felt unsafe walking down the street and shared stories of harassment and violence they had been subjected to.

A country-wide vigil was held on 13 March, with the main London one being shut down by police for breaching COVID regulations.

The scenes of police forcefully dispersing the crowds only added to the anger felt by many.

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