As prevention folks, we’re pretty familiar with the statistics about the prevalence of sexual violence. But most of the figures we use, at least here in the US come from the US alone. How do other countries compare? Is there a lot of difference from country to country?
It’s not always an easy question to answer. Often, different countries use different surveys that make it hard to compare figures – that is, if a country collects data about sexual violence at all.
Earlier this month, the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report released a short article about sexual violence against children in seven low-income countries (Cambodia, Haiti, Kenya, Malawi, Swaziland, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe).
It turns out that sexual violence is a major problem in most of these other countries, just as it is in the US. In five of the seven countries, at least 25% of women aged 18-24 had experienced some form of sexual violence before age 18. That figure varied more, from 6% of men in Cambodia to 21% of men in Haiti.
The study also has information about how many people who had experienced sexual violence as children received services, and more details about the different figures in different countries.
But the overall message is clear: sexual violence is a global problem.
Full citation: Sumner, S. A. et al. (2015). Prevalence of sexual violence against children and use of social services – seven countries, 2007-2013. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 64(21), 565-9.