Photo: Freepik

Nearly 60% of Czech Women Have Experienced Sexual Violence In Their Lives, Says Survey

A majority of women in the Czech Republic (58%) have been the target of sexual violence in their lives, and one in five have experienced rape (defined as non-consensual sexual intercourse), according to a survey released by the MindBridge Consulting agency yesterday. However, only 6% of those who have been raped reported it to the police, while three-quarters suffered or are still suffering from the consequences of their experience. 

The survey on the occurrence and impact of sexual violence was carried out in May and June 2023, with 5,042 women aged from 18 to 65.

The survey asked about 30 different situations and forms of violence. Rape includes sex under duress, against the woman’s will, forced, unwanted, unknown, or continued despite withdrawal of consent. Other forms of sexual violence include groping, forcing contact or unwanted sexual practices, being forced to watch pornography, sending unsolicited intimate images, and cyber-violence.

58% of the women surveyed had experienced some form of sexual violence in their lives; 22% before they reached the age of 15. 39% were the target of physical attacks, and 48% had experienced non-contact sexual violence.

Three-quarters of those who had been raped said they were or still are experiencing some kind of consequences. Among those raped before the age of 15, 93% felt or still feel consequences, most common among them mental health issues, chronic illness, or social consequences. For one-fifth of the women, their experience had affected their reproductive health.

Nine out of ten said the perpetrators were relatives or acquaintances. In half of the cases it was the woman’s current or former partner, and in 7% it was another family member. In more than a third of cases the perpetrator was an acquaintance, and in 12% a recent or casual acquaintance.

Half of the victims of rape did not seek any help or support. Three out of ten women confided in a loved one. 6% turned to consulting centres, psychotherapists or lawyers, and the same percentage reported the case to the police.

According to Eva Michalkova of proFem, the research confirmed earlier findings that only about one in 20 cases is reported to the police. “The vast majority of perpetrators are acquaintances, close relatives, and partners. This makes the situation and the [victim’s] decision to go to the police very complicated,” Michalkova noted.

The cost of treating the effects of sexual violence has cost the health insurance system approximately CZK 2.3 billion a year, including CZK 1.7 billion for the treatment of psychological consequences, CZK 362 million for dealing with the worsening of chronic diseases and other health conditions, and CZK 197 million for the treatment of injuries after rape.

The lower house of the Czech parliament is now debating a new definition of rape. A bill against domestic violence is also being drafted, including a number of amendments. It will modify the definition of domestic violence, and should clarify and standardise the approach to dealing with cases across the country.

Amendments to the Civil Code should extend the eviction of violent individuals from the home from 10 to 14 days, and mean domestic violence should be taken into account in the division of matrimonial property and in the custody of children after divorce. The prohibition on compulsory mediation should apply to divorcing partners if there has been domestic violence in their marriage. This amendment is also intended to ensure the victim’s right to be accompanied by a confidant, and to avoid contact with the offender during misdemeanour proceedings.

Brno Daily Subscribe
Sign up for morning news in your mail