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More than 4% of girls are victims of sexual violence in the family

The issue of sexual violence in society has come to light since MeToo. This movement to free the voice of women has highlighted the extent of this violence, but also the extreme youth of the victims, often minors, in all areas of society: culture, sport, school, etc. But what exactly is in the family?

It is in fact not spared, estimates the National Institute of Demography (INED) which publishes, this Monday, November 23, the final results of the Virage survey. This study, conducted among 27,000 people aged 20 to 69, is unprecedented for two reasons.

On the one hand, its scope is very broad and is not limited to legally qualified acts of violence (rape, attempted rape and assault). Then, it is about a survey known as of “victimization” during the life course: the respondents are asked to say if they have experienced such or such act of violence in the course of their life, whether they have lodged a complaint. or not.

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“For the first time, we have therefore been able to measure in the general population the physical, psychological and sexual violence committed in the family and close entourage, during the minority”, summarizes Amélie Charruault, demographer and coordinator of the study.

“An important level”

Result: a little more than 4% of women and a little less than 1% of men believe they have suffered sexual violence in the family and the immediate environment in childhood. “This violence is therefore at an important level”, says the researcher. They nevertheless remain behind psychological violence (14% of women believe they have suffered at least one in childhood, against 9.5% of men) and physical violence cited by 8% of women and 7% of men.

Among the sexual violence committed, the most common are touching the breasts, forced kissing, etc., while the most serious, i.e. rape and attempted rape, remain rarer (1.5% of girls and 0.3% of boys). Regarding the authors, “Men of the family (fathers, brothers and half-brothers, uncles, grandfathers, other relatives, step-fathers …) or close to the family represent almost all the perpetrators of sexual violence”, notes INED.

The youngest consider themselves victims more often than the older ones

In addition, the youngest people more often consider themselves victims of sexual violence than the oldest members of the panel. Does this mean that they have become more frequent over time? Nothing is less sure.

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“Perhaps the sensitivity to this violence has changed, and that the youngest consider more quickly than their elders that such or such gesture was an aggression”, analyzes the demographer. But other factors, and in particular that of time, can do their work. “It may well be that the older ones forgot to mention the less serious facts of which they were victims. Conversely, those who have suffered the most serious acts, rape, may no longer be alive to bear witness to it at old ages since the impact in terms of health is very important. “

40% of rape victims are under 15

This first overview therefore completes and broadens the scope of current data, which were mainly obtained from the police and gendarmerie services and published every year, since 2007, in the Living Conditions and Security survey (CVS). The figure then put forward is 235,000 victims per year of rape, attempted rape or sexual assault.

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Already, a first wave of results from the Virage study, published in 2016, had supplemented these data by extending them throughout life. It then appeared that among the respondents, 40% explained that they had been victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assault before 15 years old, 16% between 15 and 18 years old and 44% over 18 years old. This proportion was even higher among male victims: 76% had been assaulted during their childhood.

The figures put forward by INED are nevertheless lower than certain estimates put forward by the associations. “This discrepancy is explained by our methodology, which is not that of the opinion poll, complete Amélie Charruault. In addition, we submit facts, asking our respondents if they were submitted or not. We are careful never to speak of “violence” when we question people, for example, because this term refers to representations that are too different depending on the individual. “


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