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EU survey: 27% say rape sometimes acceptable

A woman with a placard reading 'Let's save women' in an abortion rights campaigners' demonstration in Warsaw, Poland. PHOTO: REUTERS

More than a quarter of EU residents have said that sex without consent may be justified under certain circumstances, according to a new survey commissioned by the European Commission.

Overall, 27 percent of 27,818 EU citizens who participated in the survey thought forced sexual intercourse was acceptable in at least one set of circumstances.

Some 12 percent of respondents, who were selected from different social and demographic backgrounds, said forced sexual intercourse was acceptable if the victim was “drunk or on drugs”.

Eleven percent said it was acceptable if the victim “voluntarily went home with someone” and 10 percent said it was acceptable if they didn’t “clearly say no or physically fight back”.

Respondents in Romania and Hungary were consistently among the most likely to say each situation may be a justification for sex without consent, while those in Sweden and Spain were consistently among the least likely to say so.

Seventy per cent of respondents said that sexual harassment of women was common in their country.

Almost one third of respondents, 31 percent, said they believed women were more likely to be raped by a stranger than by someone they knew, with respondents in Eastern areas of the EU the most likely to agree with that.