More than 1 in 10 French women raped at least once: Poll

PARIS (AFP) - More than one in 10 French women have been raped at least once, according to a study on sexual violence published on Friday (Feb 23) as the global abuse scandal widens.

Twelve per cent of the 2,167 women polled by the Fondation Jean Jaures think tank said they had suffered "sexual penetration with violence, constraint or surprise", the legal definition of rape in France.

Five per cent said it had happened more than once.

Of these, 31 per cent said they were raped by their partner, 19 per cent by someone else they know and only 17 per cent by a stranger.

Half of the victims were children or teens at the time of the attack, which took place at home in 42 percent of cases.

Only 15 per cent had filed an official complaint but many remained traumatised by the incident, as evidenced by the fact that a fifth of them had attempted suicide - four times the general rate among French women.

The online poll was carried out by Ifop between Feb 6 and 16 and questioned women aged 18 and over.

The Fondation Jean Jaures said some of the respondents may have been encouraged to break their silence by the tide of accounts of sexual violence shared on social media in the wake of the sexual assault scandal sparked by revelations about Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

Last month, France's interior ministry said the reporting of sexual assault and rape had risen 31.5 per cent in the last quarter of 2017 compared with the same period in 2016.

"One can see the effect of reporting of possibly older incidents in the context of women speaking out following the revelations of the 'Weinstein' affair," it said.